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Niche Topics (Pregnancy and Kids) is all about practical parenting advice and parenting
skills to help you deal with common parenting challenges from toddlerhood to teen
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At a very young age, kids learn things by observing people around them – from parents,
care-givers and even kids around their age. And, they unconsciously pick up bad hygiene
habits. If left uncorrected from the start, it will be difficult to reverse the learning
process in future. Early hygiene education protects your kid from diseases to ensure
a healthy and happy life. Here are a few tips on how to teach kids about hygiene:
Fun Ways to Teach Children about Proper Hygiene
Set an example: To effectively teach kids about hygiene, you should start looking
at yourself and make sure you are what you want your kid to follow. Set a good example
for kids to model, young kids mimic what is before their eyes and the best person
to inculcate good hygiene habits is none other than yourself.
Do you wash your hands
before meals? Do you flush, wash and dry after toilet visits? Tell kids to always
wash their hands with soap before and after food handling. Show kids what you mean
by flush, wash and dry. Let them see you practise what you preach.
If kids forget, you should not shout at them but rather be patient with gentle reminders.
Making it fun: My daughter who is three, is very terrified of water and getting her
to bathe is not an easy task. I would lure her with a promise of fun in the bathroom.
A tub full of bubbles, nice smelling animal-shaped soap, a rubber ducky, dolls and
her favourite Spongebob fluffy towel usually does the trick for me. I no longer have
to chase her around the house. In fact, she looks forward to bathing time without
Using toys is a great way to help distract attention when you wash your child’s hair.
A doll is a good prop to teach them all about shampooing. Demonstrate to your child
how to avoid getting soap into the doll's eyes and how she should wipe if that happens.
There are nice kids books printed with pictures of correct personal hygiene. Kids
enjoy looking at beautiful pictures and the things they see in pictures are easily
imprinted and usually, stay long in their young minds.
Show them pictures of other kids washing their hands, their faces, trimming nails,
taking a bath and combing their hair. You will notice that when kids are shown pictures,
they can connect and usually react immediately and say they want to do the same.
Educate: Explain the benefits they get from good hygiene habits, they will have strong
healthy bodies and away from bitter yucky tasting medicine.
When my oldest son was a toddler, and like most toddlers, they put almost everything
and anything in their mouths because of teething problems. I have to be very mindful
and watch him closely. Whenever he does that, I would take it out immediately and
give him a teething rattle. Some children like exploring different tastes and try
inedible things like shoes, books and toys. Educate your kid and let them know the
difference between what is food and what is not.
Rewards: Rewards do not have to be in terms of candies or gifts. Simple words of praise
does wonders for a kid. Kidsneeds acknowledgment when they are doing things right
and by praising them, they feel good and loved.