Instilling good hygiene practices in children
Observing proper hygiene is more than just maintaining a good appearance. Keeping yourself groomed promotes self-esteem and responsibility, and helps you prevent diseases.
Observing proper hygiene is more than just maintaining a good appearance. Keeping yourself groomed promotes self-esteem and responsibility, and helps you prevent diseases. Your children can experience these benefits too when you teach them good hygiene practices as early as possible.
Here are some useful tips to develop proper hygiene practices in your child:
Set a good example. Be a role model to your children because it is their nature to mimic their parents. Bath regularly, wash your hands before and after eating, brush your teeth regularly, and observe overall cleanliness.
Cleanliness as a fun experience. Kids will look forward to keeping clean activities if you make them fun. Liven up bath time with tub toys, puppet washcloths or crayon soaps. For toddlers, using washable dolls will help them practice bathing, combing hair and dressing.
Teach the value of proper hygiene. Explain the purpose and benefits of proper hygiene in a light manner as you supervise your kids during hygienic activities. Give subtle lessons like “Let's clean your hands with soap and water to wash away germs.” Kids usually ask questions about their bodies during bath time so be prepared with answers appropriate for their age and understanding. Prioritize safety. Take precautionary measures to ensure your child's safety like providing a stable step stool beside the sink, mild baby soap, no-tears shampoo, fluffy fresh towels, and clean clothing. Always supervise small children during hygienic activities and never leave them alone in the bathroom especially in a tub or with hot water nearby. When using a water heater, always test if the bath water is at the right temperature.
Let them choose. Hygienic activities become more enjoyable if you let your child select his preferred shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush and other toiletries. This also strengthens their decision-making skills and sense of personal preference.
Reinforce good deeds. Complimenting your children's efforts at good hygiene, even with imperfect results, will motivate them to perform these activities regularly. Reinforce proper hygiene practices by praising the wonderful way your child combed her hair or after she brushed her teeth after dinner without having to be told.
Making hygienic activities routine. Make sure kids perform their hygienic activities regularly until they become a habit. Routines are the cornerstones of a child's behavior. For example, encourage your child to use the toilet, wash up, brush teeth, and then read them a story before bedtime. These simple rituals will likely develop into lifetime habits.
It is best to teach children to observe good hygiene activities as early as possible and until they can do it on their own. With your guidance, they will carry out proper hygiene practices themselves throughout adolescence and adulthood.