Personal hygiene should be taught first at home not only because it will speak volumes of your own hygiene, but it will help your kids avoid hygiene-related illnesses. Explaining hygiene, however, can be tricky especially when kids love to put things in their mouth, explore, run, climb, and just touch everything they see interesting.
Make bath time fun. The prospect of washing should not be terrifying for a child, so make it a pleasant experience every time. You can use bath toys or fill a small tub where they can soak it to make it fun. It’s also important to teach them how to wash different parts of the body because some parts like the neck, armpits, back, and feet are often overlooked. You can also show them how to clean their hair by encouraging them to wash their doll’s hair.
Check their teeth. Show your child how to do it properly by brushing together. You can also encourage them to care for their teeth by showing pictures or watching fun videos about dental health. By the time the child is about 8 years, he/she should be able to perform the task without your assistance.
Encourage regular handwashing. This is the most basic of good hygiene habits and must be taught to toddlers. Tell them that is okay for them to play on the dirt or explore outdoors or use the bathroom as long as they wash their hands after and wash it again before they pick up food. using a hand sanitizer or alcohol might not be enough to get rid of the caked dirt.
Teach them about sneezing and coughing etiquette. There is a proper way to wipe the nose and to cough without passing your germs. Show them that it is good practice to cover one’s mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing. If they do not have a tissue, they can also cough or sneeze into their sleeve. It’s better than covering with their bare hands because then they will need to wash it.
Teach them to handle food properly even if they can’t cook yet. Remind your kids about the proper way of handling food when you’re not around to assist them. Basic food hygiene include washing hands before handling food, covering their mouth and nose to avoid contaminating food with droplets, using a clean cloth to wipe stains, and storing food after a meal.
Make sure they know proper toilet habits. Toddlers should at least be taught basic toilet habits such as washing hands so that potty training is easy. You would not want your child getting humiliated for still pooping in their undies when they begin school.
Set a self-care routine. Bathing, brushing the teeth, using the toilet, and preparing or storing food should be part of the routine. These are lifelong skills that will get them far when they are adults but are often overlooked today by overprotective parents. Consistency and practice build character and confidence, but leading by example is much better especially for other tasks like trimming nails, combing/brushing hair, using body products, handling dirty clothes, and keeping a clean home.