Well-groomed is not the term we normally use to describe children. Rather, untidy, sloppy or downright filthy are more appropriate words to describe most kids. But a child that learns good hygiene early will be better off their whole life through. Here are 4 positive habits to teach your kids early.
Kid’s hands get into everything. One of the most important habits we can instill in our children early is to wash their hands frequently and well. They should wash several times daily, especially before meals, after using the bathroom, and when they finish playing outside or with pets.
Don’t let them get away with a quick rinse. Scrubbing with soap for at least 15-20 seconds is needed to remove harmful germs. Make it a game by having them sing, hold their breath, or saying tongue twisters so they don’t see hand washing as an interruption to their fun.
Good dental hygiene is a valuable habit to teach your kids early. Encourage your child to brush for at least 2 minutes, twice a day. Playing a brushing game similar to “Red Light Green Light” can help the two minutes fly by for your child.
If you find it difficult to convince your child to brush, a good dentist can help send the message home. Professionals, like those at Smith Family Dental, can help kids learn more about oral health. Sometimes all it takes is another authority figure to reinforce what you’ve been saying to get your child to brush. The fun goodies they send home with them help to reinforce positive behavior as well.
One thing is certain, kids get dirty. Teach them the value of bathing their bodies and hair early and it will serve them well as they get older (and probably dirtier). Make it fun with lots of bath toys, cool shampoo and bubbles. Most kids are happy to take a bath if it means new and different forms of play.
Start emulating early the proper way to sneeze and cough to prevent the spread of germs. Demonstrate the elbow technique and explain how it prevents sickness. A bit more difficult, but very important, is to train your child how to properly blow their nose. But no sleeves this time – show them how to use a tissue.
Ultimately, the best way to help kids learn good hygiene is to practice good habits yourself. Let them watch you comb your hair, brush your teeth, and wash your face. Answer questions. Children eventually do what they see, so take care of you, and they will follow suit.