How to teach children about personal hygiene

hygiene habits for children
Image credits: sandoz.com

Maintaining personal hygiene is not only required to boost the immunity, but also to contain the spread of contagious diseases. In the current circumstances, its importance cannot be emphasised enough. Take this time to teach your child all about basic personal hygiene and some good habits to maintain it.

Food hygiene

It is important to maintain hygiene when eating, serving, or preparing food to prevent bacteria from spreading from one person to another.

  •  When you are teaching your children about food hygiene, start with the basics – talk to them about germs and bacteria
  •  It is essential to encourage them to wash hands before eating, after eating, and every time if they have been to the toilet or were playing outside
  •  Teach them to clean hands thoroughly so that there are no traces of soap left. Demonstrate the process to them for as long as it is required for them to remember it
  •  Ask them to wash hands frequently when helping in the kitchen, as vegetables, raw meat, and food materials may be carrying bacteria before they are cooked

Oral hygiene

Oral hygiene habits for children
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An unclean mouth can give out bad odour and cause cavities, which can be avoided when children have good oral hygiene. Here is how you can encourage them to keep their teeth and mouth clean:

  • Teach your child to brush teeth twice daily, and clean even the corners of the mouth thoroughly
  • Teach them how to floss and remind them to do it each time they brush
  • Ask them to gargle with water after having food and especially after eating candies & chocolates
  • Simple measures like gargling with warm salt water or using a mouth wash once in a while can very effective preventing oral infections

Clean hands

Hands can be carriers of germs if not washed and cared for properly. Hands are for cooking, eating and for all basic chores. Hence we should pay utmost attention to hand hygiene. Studies show that washing hands with soap water could reduce diarrheal diseases by 50% as well as respiratory infections. Here’s how you can develop this habit in your child:

  • As soon as your child comes home from school or playground, remind them to wash their hands and feet before touching any food items
  • Instruct your child never to put dirty hands in mouth, bite nails, or wipe their face or eyes with filthy hands

Body hygiene

Body hygiene includes taking care of all the body parts which if not washed properly, can get infections very soon. Your active involvement in maintaining your child’s body hygiene is a must. Here’s how:

  • The skin is the largest organ in the body. It covers and protects all the other organs from external elements while being exposed to different kinds of microorganisms. A proper bath for your child is required everyday to get rid off all the dirt on the body
  • Poor hair care in children can lead to issues like head lice, dandruff, and other scalp infections. Children should be taught to take care of hair along with their skin. It is important to wash their hair at least twice a week to keep it free from dirt and grease
  • Children who wear shoes all day, especially without socks, tend to accumulate more dirt on their feet, which the bacteria feed off. Instruct your child to wash their feet every time they go out and come into the house (from playground, school, etc.). Clean their feet properly by scrubbing with soap between the toes, the soles of the feet, and under the toenails

Hygiene when sick

Children tend to get affected by common colds around six to eight times a year, and that’s why it is important to teach them about health hygiene to prevent germs and bacterial infections from spreading. When your child is down with the flu or any other infectious illness, remind them about the below pointers:

  • Ask them to avoid close contact with other kids
  • Make it their habit to use a tissue to cover the mouth when they cough or sneeze to prevent germs from spreading around. Some viruses like influenza spread through droplets so teach your kid to use a cloth or a handkerchief to cover the mouth when they speak
  • Ask them to wash their hands frequently
  • Ask them to not share food, water, bedclothes, or other things with anybody that may spread germs to others in the family

Hygienic environment 

Maintaining hygiene at home is very important and should be imbibed from a young age in your child.

  • Tell them to keep their surroundings clean and everything in its place
  • Make them put the bowl or plate in the sink after they eat a meal and wash their hands
  • Teach them to clean if they spill or drop something on the floor or any other surface. If your kid is too young to be able to clean it, help and teach him do it
  • Let them follow basic toilet and bathroom cleanliness standards – they must flush the toilet after use, use the restroom supplies, throw used tissues or other garbage in the bin, etc.

Parents are first and the best teachers, as children learn a lot just by observing and replicating their actions. If you are following hygienic habits at home, your child will copy them and eventually learn them. You cannot teach your kids these basic personal hygiene habits overnight. Developing healthy habits is a process that takes time and should be handled patiently.

Hygiene is of utmost importance at Aptech Internation Preschool . A day begins at the preschool with a simple, but healthy practice of washing hands as soon as the children arrive. The preschool environment is maintained at pristine conditions to ensure healthy wellbeing of children. 

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