Bad Habits Your Child Picks Up at Preschool and How To Break Them

From nose picking, to biting and that excited scream you just wish they would hold for outside playtime, your kids can bring home some annoying (and gross) behaviors. Blogger Kimberly Pendergrass shows parents how to stop some of the worst.

Written by Kimberly Pendergrass, CareLuLu Blogger

Daycare and preschool are great learning environments for children, not only to learn hard skills like math, reading and writing, but also soft skills like patience, communication, and teamwork.

While socializing and interacting with others is critical for young children, being surrounded by other kids also means that your little one may pick up a bad habit or two.

Nose picking, biting, and loud ear-splitting shrieking is not something you hope they’d learn, but it could happen. So be prepared and learn how to help your child break these bad habits.

1. Nose Picking. EWWW!
Nose picking is embarrassing but resist the urge to say anything negative. Most children pick their nose because they are bored, curious, or trying to relieve stress. Often times it is an unconscious habit. Children may also pick their nose because they have an excess of mucus and it “feels like something is stuck up there.”

Solution: How to Stop the Gold Mining
The good news is that nose picking is not considered a nervous habit and children will grow out of this phase. To expedite this process, teach your child to blow their nose and encourage them to do so regularly. Many parents also report success with keeping those little hands busy. You may notice your child picks their nose during passive activities like riding in the car or while watching a movie.

During these times, give them something to play with like play-doh, a stuffed animal, or even a keychain. The basic idea is that they will be too busy moving their fingers to shove them up their nose. At the end of the day, if the nose picking does not end, another child will eventually draw attention to the fact that your child is picking their nose and that it is gross. Your child will then most likely stop the habit because even a preschooler knows that being labeled as “gross” is not a good thing.

2. Biting. OUCH!
Little kids bite because they do not have the ability to communicate their feelings in a constructive way. Your preschooler may be biting because they are frustrated or too excited to get their point across verbally. Biting is a major no-no because your little darling is not only inflicting pain on some other poor little soul but they will also most likely get themselves booted from preschool.

Solution: How to Quell the Chompers
If you were not there when the biting occurred, ask the preschool what triggered the incident. Now you need to have a talk with your child and explain clearly that “biting is never okay.” Have an open conversation. Here are some great questions to get you started:

  • Why did you bite so-and-so?
  • How did you feel before you bit so-and-so?
  • How do you think so-and-so felt after you bit them?
  • How would you feel if so-and-so bit you?
  • What are some other things you can do when you feel this way that does not include biting?
    (Help your child brainstorm some ideas like expressing one’s feelings through words, sharing a toy/space, walking away, counting to 5, etc.)
  • What are you going to do the next time you feel this way?
    Praise your child for thinking through their actions and coming up with alternative solutions. Critical thinking is a skill that takes years to learn. Also remind your child that there are punishments for breaking rules (i.e. no biting) and follow through every time

3. Excited Shrieking. OMG!
Your child comes home from preschool and thinks shrieking is great. You on the other hand are just about to lose it, but keep it together. Whatever you do, resist the urge to raise your voice.  Children will shriek excitedly because they want attention and this is a fun way for them to get it.

Solution: How to End the Ear Assault
Encourage your child to use their words. Children shriek because they think it is more effective at getting your attention and let’s be honest, it probably is. If your child is trying to communicate with you, be an active listener. Remind them that shrieking is not considerate to others and will not result in the action they want. Ask your darling why they are shrieking? When they tell you, suggest some alternative ways to show excitement. Maybe when you are really excited you jump up and down three times or high-five someone. Help your child think of positive and constructive ways to be enthusiastic.

Click here to check out Kimberly’s complete post, including information on CareLuLu’s preschool and daycare matching services. If you’d like updates from CareLuLu’s blog sent right to your inbox, click here and select “subscribe.”

What are some of the bad habits your child picked up and how did you nip them in the bud? Post them in the comments below or start a blog of your own! Just head to your hometown Patch site and click “start a blog.” Questions? Email moderation@patch.com.


jerseytomato February 15, 2014 at 08:56 AM
Amazing. To think parents might have to read an article such as this to know what behavior is acceptable in Pre school is just freaking amazing.
brookhavenconfucius February 15, 2014 at 09:13 AM
jerseytomato, you see, WE ARE TOO STUPID. WE need them to tell us about, EVERYTHING WE DO ! Imagine that poor kid, who goes to school being indoctrinated like this ?
brookhavenconfucius February 15, 2014 at 09:20 AM
Actually, this information above is for the DREAM ACT ILLEGALS, who, some, don't even know how to use a toilet, when the come to this Country ! They need signs, like NO FISHING...and I'm SERIOUS ! This is how it is now in Australia... Australian university doles out toilet-training lessons to immigrants with bathroom posters Notices posted on cubicle doors at Sydney's Macquarie University after cleaners complained overseas students were not aware of Western WC procedures http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2085244/Australian-university-doles-toilet-training-lessons-immigrants-bathroom-posters.html
George Murphy February 15, 2014 at 08:02 PM
I will stand on my theory that children will assimilate, and then exhibit what they see the parents doing. Do you actually believe that nose picking is indigenous to little tykes? Next time you're stopped at a red light, just gaze over at the driver next to you. Now, for the Dream Act - I have always said that cultural indoctrination should be a requirement for any person entering the US on a permanent basis.
southernbelle February 16, 2014 at 11:30 PM
i remember my the first, and following few times after, that I saw my kids stick a finger up their noses. All I had to do was call it out and ask quite frankly, "Soooooo.. once you get that on your finger what exactly do you plan to do with it?!!" Probably took about 1-3 times of embarrassment and self problem-solving until they figured out to get a tissue FIRST and use it properly. hehehehe, it was always pretty funny seeing their reactions!


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