Practicing good hygiene from young is essential to their health and well-being can be a daily challenge. Between the ages of two and three, your child’s self-awareness increases, and she begins to understand that she needs to take care of herself. Instilling in your kids a healthy hygiene routine when they are young can create habits that last throughout their lives.
Here are few tips, facts, and activities for instilling personal hygiene in kids.
- Start with the basics
Encourage hand-washing by practising the five simple and effective steps with your child - Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry
When it comes to hand hygiene, hand washing is an integral part that parents should teach their children at a young age. It is a simple activity that does not take a lot of time, but it can help keep germs and infections away.
As your baby starts growing, gradually teach him or her how to wash their hands thoroughly, and not just wet them under water but instead with soap and water. After applying soap, make sure your child rubs his or her hands together to lather up for about 20 to 30 seconds, then rinse off the soap completely with clean water. After which, ensure they properly dry their hands with a towel instead of flicking the water away.
- Coughing and sneezing habits
Teach your child to cover his mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing. Help them understand that flu is contracted from person to person through coughing and sneezing, where germs are released into the air.
Sneezes can travel out of your nose at up to 100 miles an hour, spreading germs up to 2-3 metres away.
After coughing or sneezing, have your children wash their hands regularly, especially before eating to prevent the spread of germs.
- Toilet training
Before starting toilet training, look for signs that indicate your toddler is ready.
Many children show signs of being ready for potty training between ages 18 and 24 months. However, others might take some time to be ready until they are 3 years old. Do not rush. If you start too early, it might take longer to train your child.
Teach your child to wipe thoroughly from front to back with toilet paper after using the washroom. Teach them to continue wiping with fresh toilet paper until it comes out clean. They should also be taught how to flush the toilet and use the bidet, if you have one.
- Dental care
Encourage your child to brush their teeth at least twice a day, morning and night, with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
Take him through each step as you wet the brush, squeeze a thin smear of toothpaste onto it, clean his teeth and his tongue, and then show him how to rinse his mouth with water and spit. Want to boost his motivation? Encourage him by letting him pick out his favorite kids' toothpaste and toothbrush.
- Praise them when they do it right
The best motivation for your child to learn is to let them know when they are doing well. Praise and acknowledge them when you see progress. Don’t worry too much if they missed out on parts, you can always help them after.
For example, whenever they cough or sneeze and do use tissue to cover their mouths, praise them subtly like “I saw that you covered your mouth. Thank you for doing that”. This will let them remember to do this again in the future.
Teaching your kids good hygiene habits from a very young age is exceptionally crucial in your child's development. To ensure that children adopt independent personal hygiene habits such as washing hands, parents must lead by example.
Your child will mirror your behaviour so give them a demonstration. Show them the right way to do something so that they learn faster.