Parents know that kids tend to be magnets when it comes to collecting germs. Many of us have witnessed kids place their hands in their mouth, cough into the air, and decide to eat snacks without washing their hands, among several other possible incidents. All this means is that these young minds are still learning how to practice good personal hygiene. Parents can always lend a hand when it comes to teaching their kiddo vital skills that will carry them long into adulthood.
Personal Hygiene is Good for You
Just like consuming your veggies or exercising daily, personal hygiene habits have a way of creating a healthier version of yourself. Although we know that we’re supposed to have good personal hygiene habits, many of us don’t fully grasp why. Understanding why we should keep ourselves clean can help you enforce habits with your kiddo.
Good personal hygiene habits promote a healthy lifestyle because it keeps pesky viruses and bacteria at bay. As we know, the spread of germs affects others too. For your kiddo, sticking to hygiene routines will encourage them to build self-esteem. Cleanliness has a way of enhancing our confidence and self-worth. It’s like announcing to the world, “I feel good! I feel healthy!” Being comfortable in your own body strengthens individuals both physically and mentally. Plus, you’ll smell better as well. We’d like to add that personal hygiene tasks are superb for fine motor skills practice. Kids thrive in many ways when they put personal hygiene practices to work, so let’s get to cleaning!
Squeaky Clean Over Here
Honesty time: even though a task takes 20 seconds for an adult doesn’t necessarily mean that a kiddo will have similar success right off the bat. It takes time and energy to teach kids new skills. When teaching your kiddo, remember that they’re learning so much throughout the day. They need your help in staying on top of the tasks in order to form a new habit for keeps. Consistency is a must when forming a new habit. Aim to complete tasks at the same time such as washing hands always before meals and after using the bathroom. Set the example too! Your kiddo is far more likely to develop a healthy habit if Mom and Dad model it.
Take the learning process one step at a time. If you see your kiddo cough in the store without covering their mouth, give them a gentle reminder and have them model it with you. Do this every time to keep it consistent. Another tip for personal hygiene success: allow for enough time. Avoid assuming that a task will take 20 seconds. Your kiddo may need more than one reminder, require your help, or decide to take their precious time. Allow for this time to spend learning. Eventually, your kiddo will make productive use of their time when cleaning.
If you have trouble getting your kiddo to complete certain tasks, try giving a fun spin to an activity by setting up a playlist. Teach them to sing a song such as the “ABCs” or “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” while washing their hands. Consider rewarding your kiddo with stickers or a small gift at the end of the week for a job well done. Personal hygiene can be made into a fun event.
Habits to Add to your Day-to-Day
Setting the intention to practice personal hygiene is essential, but we also need to know the specifics of each habit. Create a small-scale plan. Jumping in blindly could result in rushed, inconsistent, or sloppy practices. Think water all over the sink or forgetting to use soap! With handwashing, for example, you’ll want to make sure your child knows how to complete the task (with soap and water at a sink) and for how long (around 20 seconds every time before eating/after using bathroom/after blowing nose). Here are some other personal hygiene habits to consider putting into place in your household for daily practice:
- Wash Hands
- Take Baths or Showers
- Brush and Floss Teeth
- Changing and Washing Clothes
- Brushing Hair
- Cover Your Nose or Mouth when Sneezing and Coughing
Remember, the goal is to help your kiddo learn to do these tasks by themselves and feel confident doing it on the regular. Delaying learning for personal hygiene habits can do more harm than good. Starting habits as early as possible can encourage your kiddo to take what they learned right into adulthood. Plus, you’ll never have to worry that your kiddo has taken charge of their own health.
Some kiddos may struggle with these essential tasks that utilize fine motor skills. If concerns arise, reach out today.