An important part of raising a child is teaching them how to look after themselves and how to interact with the world around them. A big part of that involves hygiene and cleanliness. It’s a necessary subject that parents have to deal with sooner, rather than later. If not taught, your kids will develop unhygienic habits that may be harder to overcome in later life. Use these tips to help teach simple hygiene to toddlers.
Educate Toddlers on When to Wash Their Hands
A toddler will need to understand when to wash their hands. Dirty hands spread germs and bacteria, so it’s important to learn when to wash as well as how. Firstly, encourage hand washing as you would yourself; before eating, after using the bathroom, after playing outside, sharing toys, or handling other foods.
Show Them How to Wash Their Hands Thoroughly and Correctly
Washing hands in the correct way is a very important hygiene habit for toddlers to learn. Toddlers need to know: how to use the soap dispenser correctly, how to wash their hands, and the right amount of time to take washing, rinsing, and drying. Practice washing hands with them, ensure the little one gets washing all of their fingers, in-between the gaps, their palms and backs of their hands too. Rinse them with water and show them how to dry.
They also need to be shown how to wipe their bums properly. Watch this fun YouTube video of a lady using balloons to show the kids the direction to wipe!
Prioritise Teeth Brushing Early On
Oral hygiene routines are vital for kids of all ages. Early on, try to put a routine in place and give your kids everything they need to understand oral hygiene. When you are starting your routine, show your toddler how you do it and the tools you use e.g. a toothbrush and toothpaste. Try a routine in the morning and before bed. Flossing and visits to the dentist should also be a priority.
Practice Good Bathing Hygiene
Who doesn’t love a good bath? Your kids need to understand the importance of good bathing for their personal hygiene. This starts when they’re still toddlers. As you’ll be bathing them at this age, you should take the time to show them the right cleaning techniques and what they need to be doing to clean themselves correctly. These lessons will help to develop your toddler’s personal hygiene habits at an early age, which will help in future development. Cleaning can be fun! So encourage your toddler to enjoy their bathing practice e.g. with songs and rhymes.
Emphasise the Importance of Clothing Hygiene
If it was up to your child, they’d probably wear their favourite clothes every day! But as a parent, you understand this is somewhat unrealistic. Clothes will begin to pick up bacteria and start to smell if worn for too long. One tip, to encourage this simple hygiene habit is to show them when it’s okay to change clothes, for hygiene purposes and the importance of only wearing their clothes. It’s good to teach your toddler about changing underwear for washing after they’ve been worn once (even if they won’t be the ones washing them.)
Teach Them How to Safely Cough and Sneeze
The correct ways of coughing and sneezing without passing germs on to nearby people is something that has been much-publicised recently. But even outside of a pandemic, it’s useful for your child to understand these things so they don’t pass on germs to those around them.
Teach your child to cough and sneeze into a tissue (if there’s one available). You can also teach them to cough and sneeze into the corner of their elbow, or at least to cover their face with their hands. You could also incorporate this as another reason to wash your hands - to clean away germs and bacteria caused by sneezing and coughing.
Hygiene is vital for development, and now more so than ever before we’re all encouraged to take responsibility for our own hygiene practices. We’re all trying to do more to stay hygienic and avoid passing on germs to those around us. This makes now the perfect time to start educating your child on the hygiene issues and techniques we’ve discussed here today.
Explore our Pottiagogo Travel Potty rangeRelated blog: