Good Advice

Developing Good Hygiene Habits

It’s that time of the night again. You’ve been dreading it for the last hour because you know how much your four-year-old hates the bath-before-bedtime routine. She’s too little to understand the importance of being clean and the long-term benefits of developing good personal hygiene.

By Simon Spencer

So here are some ways you can teach essential hygiene habits without the nightly temper tantrums.

1. Be an example
Your kids will copy things you do and turn them into their own habits. So, make sure they see that you’re showering everyday, brushing your teeth, putting on deodorant and so on.

2 .Make your bathroom routine fun!
Kids often view managing personal hygiene as a chore. If you can make it entertaining then you’ll be more successful in the long run. Next time they’re going to the washroom, go with them and sing a song to them while they’re doing their business. Try getting a singing toothbrush for brushing their teeth. Have special bath-only toys that squirt or float in clever shapes (we just used kitchen items when I was a kid and it was fun!).

3. Stick to a routine
One of the main things to remember about developing good personal hygiene is to establish consistent daily routines. If you can teach your kids a routine such as waking up every morning, brushing their teeth, showering and going to the toilet then you’ll be setting the right expectations and helping them to develop good habits.

4. Visual reminders
Visual reminders are helpful too. Parents sometimes create ‘to-do’ lists for their kids’ washroom routine. Place checklists where your child can see them so that when they go to the washroom, they will remember each task. You can even draw a little box beside each item so that when they are done, they can check it off!

5. Involve Them
Kids love to feel as though they’re in control of their own lives (don’t we all?). Next time you go shopping, bring them to the store with you and involve them in the purchasing process. You can have them smell different shampoos, check out different soaps, let them pick out their own toothbrushes and maybe give in on that bubble gum flavoured toothpaste.  This will encourage them to make more decisions about good hygiene on their own and have them feeling like it’s their choice to use these items!

6. Get the Whole House Involved
Your child will be thrilled to have their parents, older sibling(s) and perhaps even the dog, join in on their nighttime wash-up routine. Perhaps everyone can brush their teeth together? Or you can have an assembly line of face-washing, hair-brushing and Q-tip cleansing fun! The more you involve the entire house, the more your child will want to participate!

Morning and evening routines

Morning

  • Toilet
  • Wash hands and face
  • Brush teeth
  • Comb hair
  • Deodorant
  • Sunscreen
  • Put dirty PJs in hamper
  • Make bed
  • Get dressed
  • Eat breakfast

Evening

  • Shower/bath
  • Put on PJs
  • Brush teeth
  • Toilet
  • Wash hands and face
  • Read a book for 15 minutes

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