If you are looking to teach your child or the children in your care how to blow their noses, this article is for you. The Montessori nose-blowing lesson is an easy way for even very young children to learn how to blow their noses.
Maria Montessori wrote about how she took out a handkerchief and blew her nose in it in front of a group of children at the Casa de Bambini.
She said that the children were enthralled with the lesson and that they were so grateful to learn this skill that they clapped and thanked her following the lesson.
It was at this time that Dr. Montessori came to a greater understanding of the importance of self-care for children.
She understood that children need, and crave to learn, self-care skills – that these skills help preserve a child's dignity and strengthen their self-esteem.
This may seem like a small, unimportant lesson. Many parents and caregivers find it just as easy to reach down to their children and wipe their noses for them.
When we think about respecting children, though, it's often helpful for us to imagine ourselves in their place.
How would you feel if your nose was running and someone put a tissue to your face and wiped it?
- It might hurt – they may be using more force than is comfortable for you.
- You might also feel embarrassed to be relying on someone to clean your face.
- The person wiping your nose might also make a remark about how “yucky” your nose is.
This would not make you feel very dignified, would it?
You'd rather be blowing your own nose, wouldn't you?
Blowing the nose – a lesson in grace and courtesy
In addition to helping a child maintain their dignity and self-esteem, teaching a child how to blow their own nose is a lesson in social graces and manners.
In Montessori, the nose-blowing lesson is categorized as a Care of Self lesson.
These lessons teach children independence in daily life skills, which helps them develop emotionally, physically, and academically.
Teaching a child how to blow their nose lessens their reliance on adults and helps them function in social settings.
In addition to all this, of course, it also helps lessen the spread of illnesses.
How to present the Montessori nose-blowing lesson
This lesson can be given starting at the age of 2.5 or 3 years old.
You should present this lesson in a place with a sink nearby.
Some Montessori guides have the child carry the box of tissues to a vinyl mat at a table, but others choose to present this activity at the shelf where the box of tissues is kept.
You can present this as an individual activity or to a group of children.
All you need for this lesson is a nearby sink, a box of tissues, and a line trash can.
- Let the child know that you are going to blow your nose with a tissue.
- With your thumb and your 2 primary fingers, take one tissue from the tissue box.
- Form a rectangle with the tissue by folding it in half.
- Bring the tissue slowly to your face using both hands and cover your nose.
- Allow the child to see that your mouth is closed, then blow your nose gently.
- Bring your fingers together, moving them down to the end of your nose.
- Close the tissue by folding it.
- Wipe your nose a second time with the folded tissue
- Place the tissue in a trash can.
- Wash your hands and dry them.
- Invite try and let them know that this is how they should blow their nose from now on and that they are welcome to practice as they wish.
As you can see, it's easy to teach a young child to blow their nose. Make sure you move slowly so the child sees your every movement.
If you have a child that does not seem to know that their nose needs to be blown, they may just need to be gently and discreetly alerted to the need until they develop the ability.
This is a lovely lesson for Montessori homeschooling or to supplement your preschool classroom's traditional curriculum.
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