Maria Montessori once recounted an incident where she had to give a Montessori nose blowing lesson in front of a group of children at the Casa de Bambini.
She observed that the children were fascinated by the lesson and expressed gratitude by clapping and thanking her afterward.
This experience led her to realize the significance of teaching self-care to children.
Dr. Montessori recognized that children have a natural inclination to learn and practice self-care tasks.
She understood that these skills are essential for preserving a child’s dignity and building self-esteem.
While teaching children how to blow their noses may seem insignificant to some, many parents and caregivers find it easier to simply wipe their children’s noses for them.
However, when we consider the importance of respecting children, it is helpful to put ourselves in their shoes.
Imagine how you would feel if someone took a tissue and wiped your nose without your consent when it was running.
Taking this perspective, it becomes clear why teaching children self-care is important.
For instance, many children struggle with knowing how to blow their noses or hold a tissue properly.
It is beneficial to learn nose-blowing tips to help children acquire the ability to blow comfortably and confidently.
The incident described by Maria Montessori shed light on the significance of teaching children self-care.
This seemingly small practice is crucial for promoting independence, confidence, and self-esteem in children.
Read on for a rundown on the ultimate 8-step guide in teaching your kids or students how to blow their noses.
Montessori Nose Blowing Lesson Environment
The Montessori practice of nose blowing falls under the Self Care category, which aims to teach children essential personal hygiene while promoting their confidence and self-esteem.
This particular lesson focuses on teaching children how to blow their own noses, a skill that is important for maintaining cleanliness and preventing the spread of germs.
During the discussion, the teacher or caregiver demonstrates the proper technique using a tissue or handkerchief.
The child is then given the opportunity to try it themselves, receiving guidance and support from the teacher.
They are instructed to hold the tissue or handkerchief, exhale through their mouth while closing one nostril, and repeat the process for the other nostril.
The Montessori approach to teaching nose-blowing is gentle and respectful, emphasizing the child’s autonomy in taking care of their personal hygiene.
Children are encouraged to learn and master this at their own pace, receiving positive reinforcement and praise for their efforts.
The focus is on empowering the child and instilling good social graces and manners alongside practical self-care abilities.
How To Teach Your Child The Montessori Nose-Blowing Lesson
Different Montessori guides may have variations in how they present the discussion. Some may have the child carry the box of tissues to a designated vinyl mat at a table, while others may prefer to present the activity directly on the shelf where the tissues are kept.
This lesson can be conducted either as an individual activity or as a group, depending on the preference and dynamics of the children.
For this exercise, you will need a sink in close proximity, a box of tissues, and a lined trash can.
- Begin by informing the child that you are going to demonstrate how to blow using a tissue.
- Using your thumb and two primary fingers, carefully take tissue from the box.
- Fold the tissue in half to create a rectangular shape.
- Bring the folded tissue slowly to your face, using both hands to cover your nose.
- Demonstrate that your mouth is closed, and gently blow your nose.
- Move your fingers together, sliding them down to the end of your nose.
- Fold the tissue to close it.
- Wipe the area a second time using the folded tissue.
- Dispose of the used tissue in the lined trash can.
- Afterward, wash your hands thoroughly and dry them.
Invite the child to try the activity themselves and let them know that this is the proper way to do it going forward. Encourage them to practice as they wish.
When Can You Start Teaching Montessori Nose Blowing?
Here are the typical age ranges for the progression of nose care toward independence:
- Around 1 year old
The child allows their nose to be wiped by others.
- Around 1.5 years old
Attempts to wipe their own but may not fully complete the task.
- Around 2 years old
Wipes their nose when asked to do so.
- Between 2.5 and 3.5 years old
Wipes their nose without needing to be prompted or asked.
- Between 2.5 and 3.5 years old
Can blow their nose when requested.
It’s important to keep in mind that these developmental milestones may vary for each child, and not all children follow the exact timeline.
It is also worth noting that some typically developing children may not master the skill until around the age of 5.
Just like any other skill, the development of these care abilities varies across children. In this article, you will find helpful tips and techniques to support children in developing this.
Why Is Nose-Blowing Lesson Important?
Teaching a child how to do this serves multiple purposes beyond maintaining their dignity and self-esteem.
It also instills important social graces and manners, enabling them to function more independently in social settings.
Moreover, teaching preschoolers these practical life skills has a broader impact on their overall development.
When children have a stuffed nostril, it can affect their hearing and auditory processing, which in turn can impact their perception of letter sounds, understanding of verbal directions, and even considerations of safety.
During certain times of the year, such as when kids are back in school, they are more susceptible to illnesses and encounters with germs from peers and teachers.
As parents, we are familiar with the prevalence of runny noses among our children.
From the early stages of infancy, we experience nights disrupted by stuffy breathing caused by these situations.
However, as children progress in their self-care ability, they can gradually become more independent in the task at hand.
Aside from these, it also supports the development of various abilities that is essential to the learning progression of a child.
Some of these skills are the following:
- Fine Motor Skills
Blowing one’s own nose involves various fine motor components that are essential to perform the task successfully.
These components include eye-hand coordination, bringing the hands to the midline, movement control with obstructed vision, pincer grasp, and pinch grip strength required to handle a tissue.
To develop and improve these abilities, it is beneficial to target each area individually and work on building the necessary abilities.
- Sensory Skills
The process of blowing their own nose can be challenging and distressing for children.
Those with olfactory sensitivities may primarily breathe through their mouth, making nose-blowing difficult.
Additionally, sensitivity to scents can cause an overreaction when tissue needs to be held near the area.
To accommodate these sensitivities, it is recommended to use unscented tissues.
Engaging in breathing activities can also help in addressing these challenges.
Blowing and tissue management involves both tactile and olfactory sensory abilities, as well as interoceptive abilities.
Interoception is a sensory processing ability that allows individuals to understand and feel what is happening inside their bodies.
When a child struggles with interoception, they may have difficulty recognizing when their nostril is full, running, or congested.
Developing interoception abilities helps children recognize when they have finished blowing their nose and when it is clear or empty.
- Cognitive Skills
Nose-blowing can be a challenging task for young children as it involves multiple steps.
They need to maintain lip closure while breathing through one nostril at a time.
Older children who struggle with cognitive difficulties may find this multi-step process challenging.
To address these difficulties, using a social story that outlines the steps can be helpful.
A social story can also assist children in understanding when it is appropriate to attempt learning this skill.
Teaching this to children also involves developing executive functioning abilities.
Problem-solving is required to recognize when a stuffy nose affects their functioning, and knowing when it is necessary to perform the acquired abilities.
- Oral Motor Skills
Blowing the nose requires a child to maintain lip closure, which can be challenging for children with oral motor difficulties.
This capacity not only affects feeding and nasal breathing but also impacts the ability to blow the nose effectively.
The development of oral movement capacity plays a crucial role in mastering the task of nose blowing.
Blowing the Nose: A Lesson in Grace and Courtesy
The Montessori exercise on nose-blowing encompasses more than just acquiring a practical ability; it also emphasizes the importance of grace and courtesy.
By teaching children how to take care of themselves, we are imparting valuable social graces and manners that will benefit them in their future interactions with others.
It also involves the utilization of fine movements, cognitive, and sensory abilities, and by encouraging children to practice and enhance these abilities, we are fostering their overall development.
Incorporating enjoyable activities like Simon Says adds an element of fun and engagement to the learning process.
The Montessori nose-blowing exercise holds significance in a child’s holistic growth, and through careful and attentive teaching, we can help children become self-assured and capable individuals.
What are the results of blowing your nose? Blowing your nose is a common way to clear mucus from your nasal passages. It can be helpful when you have a cold, allergies, or other respiratory problems. However, it is important to do it correctly to avoid damaging your nose or ears.
Why is it rude to blow your nose in Japan? In Japan, blowing your nose in public is generally considered impolite or rude in certain situations and cultural contexts. Further, doing it in public is often perceived as unhygienic, as it involves the potential spread of germs and mucus particles in the surrounding environment. Japanese society places a high value on cleanliness and maintaining a sanitary public space.
Why does Montessori teach nose-blowing? Montessori schools teach nose-blowing as part of their focus on practical life ability. These exercises are designed to aid children become more independent and self-sufficient. Blowing their own nose is an important life ability that can support children to stay healthy and prevent the spread of germs.