As your little ones get older, it’s important to teach them all about the importance of hygiene. As babies, they learned about the world through their mouths and their tiny hands, always reaching out to grab things before you can stop them. Start them early with some easy hygiene habits to help them stay healthy and safe as they grow up.
Understanding why we need hygiene
The first step to helping your children to learn about cleanliness is to understand why it’s so important. Keeping clean kills germs and helps us to avoid getting sick. This not only protects us as individuals, but also helps to keep the people around us safe and healthy.
The most important part of personal hygiene is keeping your hands clean. Soap and water are powerful tools to protect us from daily germs that can do us harm. To help kids learn to wash their hands for the recommended time, try singing an easy nursery rhyme like the ABC song, which is 20 seconds long!
Follow these straightforward steps for effective handwashing:
- Wet hands with water.
- Apply soap and rub your hands together to lather.
- Rub the backs of each hand with the palm of the other and between fingers. Don’t forget thumbs and wrists!
- Rub backs of fingers and tips of fingers into the palm of the other hand in a circular motion.
- Dry hands thoroughly.
If you’re having a hard time getting your little one to understand what this all means, this video posted by nursery teacher @mandysmunchkins_ on Instagram will show them the power of soap and how it protects us in ways we can’t see.
Make it fun
The next time you sit down to play with your toddler, make a sign with them to remind everyone in your household to wash their hands. Let them make the signs as colourful and fun as they want and stick them above every sink. This will not only get them excited about hand-washing, but they’ll be more likely to remember to do it themselves.
Your kids are still very small and sometimes they need a little bit more motivation to adopt new behaviours. Set up a Hygiene Jar and award your little one a point for every time that they practice good cleanliness and encourage others to do the same. Once they reach a certain number of tokens, treat them to a small reward like an extra episode of their favourite cartoon or choice of afternoon snack. Soon it will become a natural step in their everyday behaviour!