Good personal hygiene is more than handwashing, said Carly Werner of health news and information website Healthline. Personal hygiene also includes bathing, brushing, and more, added Kimberly Holland of Healthline. Hence, it is important to help your kids develop a healthy hygiene routine that lasts a lifetime.
Your child comes into contact with millions of germs and viruses. They can linger on their body or make your child sick. A healthy personal hygiene routine can help your little one and the people around them prevent illness. It can also make your child feel good about themselves.
Hand Washing and Cleanliness of Restrooms In Schools (2011)
The American Cleaning Institute, an organization that represents the US cleaning products industry, surveyed 512 (aged 8 to 17) and 521 parents about their handwashing habits and beliefs, cited Matt McMillen health website WebMD. The American Cleaning Institute found that 89% of kids washed their hands after using the restroom at school.
Far fewer said they wash their hands at other times and nearly half said the most common reason they failed to wash their hands was because their schedules did not allow them time. 16% said no one reminds them to wash their hands. 14% said they don’t wash their hands because no one else does. However, 77% stated that seeing their friends wash their hands reminds them to wash their own. 21% said they did not like using their school’s restrooms, 15% found the restrooms “disgusting,” and 19% said the restrooms did not have the proper supplies.
Personal Hygiene Habits of Children In Rural Jaipur, Rajasthan, India (2014)
Vismita Paliwal, Chandrakant Paliwal, and Surabhi Chatuvedi of journal portal Research Gate analyzed the level of personal hygiene of 400 school-going children of the rural areas of Jaipur, Rajasthan. The children were asked, “When do you clean your teeth?” 90% of children said they clean their teeth everyday anytime, 85% of children said they do so everyday, 70% said they do so everyday at night and everyday after eating.
When asked how they brush their teeth, 70% said they do so using Neem stem, 30% said by toothpaste, 15% said by finger, and no respondents said they do so using other means. The children were asked when they wash their hands in a day, 96% said they do so after using the toilet, 88% said they wash their hands after wearing their shoes, 85% said after eating, and 11% said after eating.
Moreover, 91% said they take a bath everyday, 7% said they do so two to three times a week, 2% said sometimes, and no respondents said they never took a bath. When asked what do the children use to wash their hands, 98% said they use water, 86% said they use soap, and 20% mentioned sand. The authors concluded that the children in Jaipur, Rajasthan, had a good sense of personal hygiene and awareness.
Personal Hygiene for Kids
1. Hand Washing
This is a critical piece of good hygiene. Remind your child to wash their hands before and after meals, after playing in the dirt or with pets, and after being in contact with a sick person to eliminate germs. Tell your child about the benefits of washing their hands with soap for a certain amount of time. For example, you can ask your child to sing the “Happy birthday” song twice. Hand sanitizers may be an alternative, but nothing beats soap and water.
You’ve helped your child take a bath when they were still an infant. But when they are about five years old, they should be able to do this task by themselves. As you are supervising their bath time, be sure to teach them about the importance of washing their body parts such as their feet, groins, neck, armpits, and more. You should also help them learn how to wash their hair without getting suds in their eyes. Make sure to explain what they need to do if suds do get in their eyes.
3. Brushing Teeth and Oral Hygiene
Clean teeth and gums can prevent bad breaths, cavities, dental issues, and more. Kids can brush their own teeth by the time they turn three. However, you need to see if they are doing it properly and if they are brushing long enough. You can play a two-minute song when it’s time to brush their teeth.
This way, your child will know how long they have to do this task and will get used to it over time. You may need to monitor your child’s oral hygiene, but they can handle this task better once they turn seven.
It is also recommended to help your child floss at least twice a day or after every meal. For older kids, encourage them to pack toothbrush kits in their bags so that they can brush their teeth at school. The Raising Children Network, an online resource for Australian parents and carers, suggested making regular dental appointments for your child to prevent dental issues from arising.
4. Nail Hygiene
Did you know that fingernails can be a breeding ground of germs and can be transferred to your child’s eyes, nose, and mouth? You can help your child care for their nails as they grow older by telling them to wash under their nails after each shower. You can use a nail brush to aid in nail hygiene. Each week, you can help them trim their nails after showering, as nails are softer and clip more easily. Once your child is seven-years-old, they should be ready to do this task alone.
How to Help Your Child Develop a Healthy Personal Hygiene Routine
Remind your child to take a shower, wash their hair, brush their teeth, and more. You can set these reminders on your child’s phone if they own one. Over time, they will learn how to do it by themselves. You can also put little signs in the bathroom or the kitchen to remind your child to wash their hands before eating.
It takes time to learn and instill new habits. For example, you can help your child learn a new habit at the beginning of the week, practicing it for about one to two weeks. Make this habit your priority before letting your child learn another one.
Parents should instill the importance of having good hygiene when their children are still young. These habits will carry over once they become adults. Remind your kids to take care of themselves to eliminate germs and to make themselves more confident.