Young children have a true talent for attracting dirt and grime, and it’s only after a certain age they recognise this. Establishing good hygiene habits in kids from a young age is really important, as they’ll carry those habits with them for the rest of their lives. Getting them engaged with a cleanliness routine doesn’t have to be hard work, either. As much as they love dirt and grime, kids often relish the chance to splash in soap and water. Here are a few tips to make their routine even more engaging.
One approach is to make things fun for the kids. This keeps them more interested in the topic and they’re more likely to stick to it. For instance, with oral hygiene, children should brush their teeth regularly, so you could invest in a colourful electric toothbrush. You can often find an electric toothbrush as part of tie-in merchandise from your children's favourite film and television characters, which will make this oral hygiene regime more fun and enjoyable for them.
The other main effective approach is to go straight for the facts. Let the children know that without good hygiene, they can catch germs and even get ill. Identify bad habits early on that are common with kids, such as nail-biting and nose-picking (those old classics!), and put a stop to them immediately. There’s no need to terrorise them with horror stories about what could happen if they don't brush their teeth or fail to wash their hands, but you should explain the concept of bacteria and germs clearly, and how they are spread.
You can demonstrate this by dipping your hand into some chalk or flour, then touching various items and shake their hand — this provides you with a visual representation to help explain how easily germs can be spread. If your kids are old enough, consider listing instances together where they might come into contact with germs like this — after using the toilet, when they're playing outside, especially when they have a cold. Then take them over to where you can both wash your hands, while making sure you show them how to get thoroughly clean using soap and warm water.
A simple but important way to influence your kids to follow these hygiene rules is to lead by example; if you wash your hands before eating, they'll develop that habit. Spend time together to establish this routine. Guaranteed — your kids will be proud to show you how well they can brush their teeth if you enjoy this ritual together.
You know the saying ‘Old habits die-hard’, but you can prevent them from even developing in your kids. They just need a little educating and, like all kids, with some fun thrown into the mix. They’ll then hate germs!
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.