It’s never too early to instill good hygiene habits in your children. Besides, kids who practice proper hygiene habits have high self-confidence. Getting your children to master skills requires practice and time because they learn best through repeat patterns. Over time, cleanliness becomes automatic, as long as you devise a plan and stick to it.
Why is personal hygiene vital for kids?
Following hygiene practices is essential for children as it helps in keeping germs and illnesses at bay. Whenever they get into contact with dusty areas, harmful microorganisms might transfer to their hands and end up in their internal system then result in diseases. Some habits are practiced as the foundation for proper hygiene. An easy way of ensuring that your little one masters these skills is to start teaching the habits at a tender age.
Good hygiene starts early
1.Get the basics right
Before you go into the ins and outs of teaching personal hygiene to your little one, start by establishing the ground rules. Practices such as proper hand washing, brushing teeth after every meal, and covering the mouth while sneezing are non-negotiable. Hygiene rules are essential, and they should be followed without fail.
2. Use books and TV shows
Children like modeling their favorite TV and book characters. From acting scenes they saw on TV to pretending to be the good-guys they saw in a movie, children love mimicking. That is why elementary books use cartoon characters in their books. Convince your little one that the character they adore also washes hands. If you can, find shows and books that illustrate hygiene practices using characters, and you will have an easy time teaching these skills to your child.
3. Explain the essence of proper grooming and hygiene
Depending on your child’s age, you can explain the importance of practicing proper hygiene and the consequences of doing the opposite. Older kids can grasp the downside of falling sick due to an infection. As for their younger counterparts, you would have to explain the idea shallowly, without getting into the icky details of diseases.
4. Make bathing times fun
There are two categories of kids; those who love bathing and those who dread “shampoo” times. That is why you ought to make this time enjoyable and exciting. Use bubbles to be artistic. Putting toys in the bathroom or bathtub is also a good way of bringing the fun out of the entire bathing activity. You should get to a point where your little one can’t wait for bathing time.
5. Allow them to clean their toys
A lot of parents are against the idea of children cleaning their toys. However, it shouldn’t be so because this is one of the best ways of teaching your little one about the importance of staying clean. Besides the toys, let them wash the hairbrush and other personal items depending on the age. However, be there at the start to guide them, and then allow them to do it on their own later.
6. Teach oral hygiene
Cleaning teeth and gums is a good way of preventing an array of health issues such as cavities and bad breath. Your little one should floss and brush at least twice a day, if not after every meal. Fun toothbrushes and toothpaste can help in encouraging children to brush their teeth. Older kids can put their toothbrush kits inside their bags and use them at school.
7. Lead by example
Children like imitating what adults do because they see us like people who know everything and do things right. So, there is no better way of coaching hygiene habits to your young ones more than doing what you deem proper. Your child will understand the importance of brushing teeth daily when they see you doing it. Remember that your mini-you is watching you every day and looking for ways to be like you, so do it right.
8. Give rewards
Everyone likes being appreciated for work that’s been done to precision, and children are not an exception. If your kids do what you instructed them to do, make sure you reward their efforts. That way, they will start associating cleanliness with positive outcomes, and they will always be ready to practice proper hygiene habits. It doesn’t have to be a gift. Even creating a tick chart is sufficient in appreciating their efforts and monitoring how well they are doing. You can create columns for different activities like washing hands, bathing, and cleaning teeth.
Teaching the principles of good hygiene is essential in ensuring that your children are healthy and clean. It is particularly vital for school-going children because they come into contact with many people and items during the day. Luckily, instilling these habits is quite easy. These eight tips will get you there, but make sure you stick to the plan.
Samantha Rosario is a writer in Healthy Heroics, a mother and resident of NYC. When not working at a Manhattan publishing house, she’s spending time with her family or putting pen to paper for her own personal pursuits.