Children are constantly learning about the world around them. They explore objects using their five senses; their sense of touch, smell, sound, their ability to see what’s around them and even taste. Younger children in particular put objects in their mouth to learn about them. While it’s not the most hygienic of methods, it’s a part of cognitive development. What’s just as important though is that they are mindful of their personal hygiene as it’s essential for good health and wellbeing. The guidance below is from a nursery in North London and it outlines how you can build healthy habits with your child.
- Do It Together: Children copy their parents and pick up similar behaviours. Doing things together, like brushing your teeth and washing your hands before mealtime will help them with their cleanliness. To get them to join in, find them a small stool to make the basin easily accessible.
- Explain How Bacteria Spreads: Coughing and sneezing spread bacteria and can make those around us ill. You can explore this with your child by explaining why they must cover their mouth when doing so and wash their hands.
- Why They Must Brush Their Teeth: Similar to the point above, you can teach your child about how important good oral health is by explaining how teeth decay.
- Use Regular Reminders: You can make your child more mindful of their personal hygiene by regularly reminding them to wash their hands, brush their teeth before and after bed, floss in between meals, and change their clothes when they are dirty.
- Bath Time: Bathing is a huge part of being clean and stops us from smelling. If this is something that your child doesn’t particularly like, try introducing bath toys that can keep them occupied while in the tub. Also, use bath time as a chance to teach them about how to clean themselves and slowly take ownership.
- Putting Things in Their Mouth: As established earlier, children will put things in their mouth – it’s what they do. You can, however, help them to differentiate between what’s safe for them to eat and dirty by pointing them out.
- Opt for The Right Toothbrush: Going back to brushing, the toothbrush we use really affects the level of cleanness we’re able to achieve. Opt for a brush that is age appropriate for your child, so they are able to hold it and brush their teeth easily.
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