Although they are invisible to our naked eyes, there are millions of microorganisms in our environment. Many of them are good for the posterity of life, but at the same time, some of them are very dangerous, causing sickness and disease. Since the immune system of kids are still in the developmental stage, they are very vulnerable to these dangerous microorganisms. Therefore, health experts have always reiterated the importance of personal hygiene for kids and adults, as it is the surest preventive measure of stopping sickness and disease.
At the time of writing this article, the world is battling with COVID-19, a strange disease that has killed thousands of people all over the world. To contain the spread of the virus that causes the disease, WHO recommends thorough handwashing with soap and water – and that’s one of the personal hygiene that everyone, including kids, must adopt.
But aside from handwashing, we have other personal hygiene for kids. In this post, we will share with you how you can teach your children to adopt a clean and healthy lifestyle.
Personal Hygiene for Kids: The Helpful Tips
When your kids are still babies, you are responsible for bathing them. But once they turn six years old, it is the time to start encouraging them to take baths themselves. In the beginning, you should be in the bathroom with them, supervising and teaching them how to have a clean bath of all parts of the body, especially armpits, groins, neck, belly, knees, elbows, back, and feet.
Being in the bathroom with your children when they are still learning how to bath can also serve as a way to teach them about the parts of their body; this should have been taught when they were in preschool, but you can use the opportunity to reinforce the teaching.
As personal hygiene for kids, bathing should be made a habit done once or twice a day. It should also be done after rigorous sports activities and outdoor play, with washcloths and soap.
- Sneezing and coughing
According to a publication by Healthline, a sneeze or a cough can travel up to 100 miles per hour and in the process spread around 100,000 contagious germs. For this reason, it is advisable to encourage your children to cover their mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing, and they should dispose of the tissue properly. If a tissue is out of reach, the advice by CDC and other top health organizations is to cough and sneeze into the upper sleeve – not into the palm of the hand.
Moreover, to make this personal hygiene for kids effective in preventing diseases, remind your children not to touch their eyes or pick their noses. This is because germs can easily enter the body through the mucous membranes of the eye, nose and mouth.
- Teeth brushing
Like bathing, teeth brushing is one of the personal hygiene for kids that should be started by the parents. When the child is still a baby, parents use a piece of cloth and warm water to clean the child’s mouth regularly, but as soon as the first tooth appears in the child’s mouth, parents normally start brushing it with a soft toothbrush. However, from the age of three, parents should encourage their children to start brushing their teeth by themselves, while they standby to supervise.
After you leave them to start brushing themselves, you may discover that they aren’t doing it very well; as they probably do not understand the essence of teeth brushing. In this case, talk to them about the risk of dental diseases such as gingivitis and cavities. Also, talk about bad breath, which results from not washing or improper washing of teeth; this should get them to act, as nobody wants people using their hands to cover their nose when he or she talks.
If your children brush their teeth but don’t spend enough time to wash them clean, a trick that has been discovered to work and encourage children to do so is to play a two-minute kids song while they brush; you can also set a timer for them. Adopting these tricks would make your children get used to brushing for two minutes, which is the minimum recommended time for brushing.
Related to brushing, flossing is another dental care you want to introduce to your kids. But because flossing isn’t easy to learn, you should continue assisting your children with it until you feel they are old enough to do it themselves.
Regular handwashing is considered extremely important for preventing the spread of diseases. So when your kids are still very young, always clean their hands with a warm washcloth before and after a meal; also do so after any diaper change.
As an important personal hygiene for kids, handwashing should be made an integral part of potty training.
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The ideal handwashing time is 20 seconds, so to make your kids want to wash their hands for that long, you can teach them to sing the ABC song. The song is about 20-second long; motivate them to keep washing till they sing the song to the end.
The rule of thumb for handwashing is that it should be done before and after meals, after playing outside, after touching a pet, and after being around a sick friend. Encourage your children to adopt this rule.
- Nail hygiene
When your kids are still very young, cutting their nails is part of the hygiene you should observe for them, but by age seven, most children are expected to do it themselves. So, once your children get to this age, advise them to cut their nails weekly.
It is important to talk to your children not to bite their nails with teeth; this is because doing that can cause the transfer of germs from the nails to the mouths, from which they can enter the body and cause diseases. Encourage them to use a nail clipper instead.
- Managing sweat
Once children reach puberty age, body odour becomes evident. Bathing once or twice a day is good personal hygiene for kids that would help to reduce the odour, but it is not enough. You need to also teach your children about how to manage the way they sweat.
Make your children understand the difference between deodorant, which controls bacteria and add fragrance to the body, and antiperspirant, which protects against sweating and odour. To protect against underarm wetness, antiperspirant is recommended.
- Hair maintenance
As children grow up, their hair gets oilier than ever. For this reason, encourage your children to thoroughly wash their hair when having their bath. Doing this ensures the hair doesn’t have many breakouts, which are caused by oil and greasy hair products.
If your children have started shaving, endeavour to get them kid-friendly razor or shaving cream. Don’t forget to also offer to teach them how they can shave tricky spots on the body, such as underarms and pubic. Above all, the main personal hygiene for kids regarding hair maintenance is that you should talk to them about how often the razor should be cleaned and how often the blade should be changed.
- Skin maintenance
The forehead and bridge of the nose of children tend to get oily easily as they progress through puberty; this can result in clogging of pores, which often leads to acne. To ensure this doesn’t happen in your children, encourage them to wash their face often or twice a day with a mild cleanser.
Another personal hygiene for kids relating to skin maintenance is that you should encourage them not to pick at pimples on their face. Doing that only worsens the bumps, and it can lead to inflammation and permanent scars.
- No love in sharing
This is the last point in this article on personal hygiene for kids, and it is regarding female children. With their friends, they often share makeup, hair brushes, and other beauty products. To be safe from germs, advise your daughters not to share these things, especially beauty products used near the eyes or mouth.
Germs can be on the surface of the products and be transferred from one user to another.
Ensuring personal hygiene for kids requires a lot of work, especially in terms of giving instructions and reminding them regularly about basic hygiene. However, by taking the time to teach your children the personal hygiene discussed in this post, you would help them live a life of cleanliness, free from avoidable diseases and infections.