What are the most important hygiene lessons that kids should be taught? Here are some facts and tips about personal hygiene for kids.
As we all know, kids enjoy playing and they don’t really care about getting dirty since they don’t comprehend the concept of hygiene. It is one of the first duties as a parent to teach the child about personal hygiene.
First of all, what is the definition of hygiene? According to WHO, “Hygiene refers to conditions and practices that help to maintain health and prevent the spread of diseases.” It doesn’t refer just to the looks of a person but also to his/her health and it is also vital to our relationship with other people. Who wants to be around a sick person or someone who smells badly, anyway? Therefore it is important to include these rules in our daily routine from a young age.
Now, let’s see the 5 most significant hygiene rules for kids.
1) Washing the hands
This is perhaps the most important and thus the first hygiene rule a kid should learn since dirty hands are a potential source of infection. Kids ignore the existence of germs and have the tendency of playing with whatever they set their eyes on and then put their hands in their mount, eyes, and ears. Hence, it is essential for children to learn to wash their hands :
- after sneezing or coughing
- after playing both in- and/or outdoors
- after using the bathroom
- before and after eating
- whenever they touch an animal, their pet included
- after touching a sick person
- after coming in contact with any dirty item – kids these days play a lot on their PC or tablet and you won’t believe how many germs exist there
Knowing when to wash their hands is not enough, doing it the right way is also necessary. The child should learn to use plenty of soap and to wash both the outer and the inner side of the hands. He/she should never neglect to wash the skin between the fingers and naturally the area under the nails. Teach your kid to wash out with plenty of water and dry the hands with a clean towel.
Washing the hands is a fast task but highly effective against infections and it’s a wonder so many grown-ups skip it.
2) Oral hygiene
Oral hygiene is something that even adults overlook, let alone children. No one wants to have yellow teeth, bleeding gums or stinking breath so why not try to avoid these by simply brushing the teeth? The steps that are essential in that direction are :
- Thorough brushing with slow circular motion twice a day and ideally after every meal
- Flossing once a day
- Eating a balanced diet without too much sugar
- Use of dental products that contain fluoride, especially if they are recommended by your dentist
A great tip is to try to motivate your child with a toothbrush-toy.
3) Body hygiene
Bathing regularly and washing from tip to toe is vital in maintaining good body health. Teach your child how to bathe properly until he/she is able to do it unassisted. Show him/her how to scrub the whole body emphasizing on the face, the ears, the neck, the hands, the armpits, the back, the bellybutton, the knees, the feet, the toes and last but not least the pubic area. Ideally, kids should bathe daily and even twice a day on hot days or when they play and sweat. Explain to your kid how to adjust the temperature of the water and advice him/her to use plenty of soap. Of course, one should never forget about the hair, that should be washed and rinsed twice.
Finally, the kid should dry him/herself with a clean towel and use a hair dryer. Going outside right after bathing, especially without drying first, is a sure way of catching a cold. The child should also never forget to cut the nails and clean the ears with cotton swabs.
Aside from bathing, every person including children, of course, should always wear clean clothes and change their underwear daily.
As previously mentioned, kids like to play so a nice tip is to try to make the whole procedure fun. A toy in the bathtub and some kid slippers do make a difference and will lift his/her mood.
4) Health Hygiene
Personally, I totally hate getting sick so I do my best to stay healthy. I’m sure most of you feel the same way. So how can one protect him/herself from diseases? People should learn at a young age :
- to cover their mouth with a tissue while sneezing or coughing so that no germs are spread
- to clean their nose with a tissue and never with bare hands
- to never bathe and leave the house right after, particularly on cold days
- to dress according to the weather
- to avoid sticking the hands in the mouth, eyes or ears
- to avoid picking their nose
- to stay away from sick people – ill people at home must use a different towel than the rest of the family
- and of course to vaccinate
5) Home hygiene
Lastly, we shouldn’t forget the fact that our home and our behavior in it, play a key role in our well-being. A place that is untidy and dusty is a source of infections and therefore children should learn early to clean their room and care for the cleanliness of the rest of the house. So, it is important :
- to tidy the clothes and not throw them all over the place
- to keep their room clean and their toys and books where they belong
- to clean after spilling food or drinks
- to throw any leftovers and other litter in the bucket and never leave them exposed
- to put the dirty dishes in the sink or even better to learn how to wash them
- to watch over their hygiene in the bathroom – always wipe well, flush and wash the hands
In conclusion, these are some basic hygiene rules to follow and ones that everyone should make a habit. It is essential to explain to your kid why exactly obeying these rules is meaningful. Lastly, parents should always keep in mind that the children mimic them and therefore they should try to set a good example. This will make it easier for the children to separate the right from the wrong.