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Monday, March 30, 2020

6 Tips for Cultivating Healthy Hygiene Habits in Children

6 Tips for Cultivating Healthy Hygiene Habits in Children

Photo by StockSnap (pixabay)

Personal hygiene is essential: It not only keeps our bodies clean but helps to prevent the spread of disease. Teaching your children about proper hygiene is an integral part of parenting. Not only are children with poor hygiene habits more susceptible to disease, but they can also suffer social consequences. However, any parent who has ever fought to get a screaming child into a bath knows that getting your kids to practice good hygiene isn't easy. Here are a few simple, parent-tested tips to keep your kids safe and healthy.

Start Early

Babies need to have their diapers changed frequently, but they also need baths to be clean and dry and constant changes of clothes thanks to spit-up and other mishaps. Start with good hygiene practices while your kids are babies to form good habits for later. Brush their teeth as soon as the first baby tooth pops out, and wash their hands frequently.

Create Routines

Kids thrive on routines. If you make hygiene a habit, your kids are more likely to conform to your expectations. Children should know that in the morning, they wash their faces and brush their teeth. They should know to wash their hands before and after they eat, after they've been outside on the playground, after visiting the bathroom, after they've played with a pet, or anytime they've cleaned up anything. Washing everyone's hands every time you come in the house will soon become an ingrained habit for your kids. The same goes for baths: Make bath time an integral part of your evening routine.

Model Good Hygiene

Children learn best by example. You can talk all day about the importance of washing your hands and flossing, but if they don't see you doing these things, they are far less likely to embrace good hygiene themselves. So make sure you are washing your hands frequently, and let your kids see parts of your hygiene routine, like oral care.

Keep a Well-Supplied Home

Make hygiene easy by making sure that kids have what they need to be successful. Each sink should have hand soap and a towel so handwashing is easy. Bathtubs and showers should have soap, shampoo, and conditioner. Make sure everyone has a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. It's also crucial that household chores like laundry are kept up with so that everyone in your family has consistent access to fresh towels and clean clothes.

Set Expectations

Set clear guidelines about hygiene. Make rules about changing into pajamas before getting into bed and about wearing clean clothes every day. As your children age and you are less involved in their bathing process, set rules about how often bodies should be bathed and hair should be washed. Enforce handwashing expectations, and remind kids who come in from playing outside to wash their hands. Check your kids' nails and insist on trims if necessary. If your kids seem to be going off course, open up a dialogue! And don't be afraid to lower the hammer to enforce minimal standards.

Have Age-Appropriate Conversations

The conversation about hygiene should start before your kids can talk, when it sounds like "uh oh, your onesie is dirty! Let's take it off and put on nice, fresh jammies!" However, as they age, the conversations are going to become more complex. As your children approach puberty, you'll need to talk about the importance of bathing more often due to shifting body chemistry. Girls and boys both have specific hygiene needs you'll need to prepare them for and help them adapt into their routines. Remember that skin care is often a concern for both boys and girls as they enter adolescence, and be prepared to help guide them into more complicated hygiene routines.
Find more about the author: Kim Hart

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