Technology has penetrated every part of our life and lifestyle. Yet, instructing children on hygiene has and will be a personal process, simply because children are spontaneous and lively by nature, and getting the point across to them would have to be on their terms.
Brushing is more a routine than a requirement for kids. They find it boring and time-consuming. A lot of them swallow the toothpaste and chew the toothbrush during brushing time. Well, that’s what’s being a child. But while they’re at it, devoting a little time and patience showing them how to brush their teeth, clean their tongue and rinse their mouth will benefit them in the future. If required, explain oral hygiene to them in a way they understand and relate to.
Making it compulsory for children to take a shower every day is a habit worth inculcating. Generally, children love to spend time under the shower without actually having a bath. It is necessary to give them a bath for the first few years, showing them how to work the lather over themselves, including the underarms and inner thighs, till they get it right.
Body odour is a problem children face when they do not have a proper shower. Considering the amount of activity in their daily life, sweat is not only inevitable but also necessary. Some children get used to the odour and do not know the difference, till they are taught on the use of soap for bath and body- talc for fragrance.
Children’s hair is the receptable of dust and dirt due to their active and inquisitive lifestyle. It also keeps them in constant need of attention where hygiene is concerned. Head-lice and nits are a menace that comes back despite regular removal. Making hair-wash a ritual twice a week is highly recommended. Children should also be taught to use clean combs and hair-brushes, remembering to wash them during a hair-wash.
In the last few years, hands-hygiene has been at the forefront, with scores of advertisements and awareness programs on the subject, especially for children. The hands play a vital role in the lives of children as they seem to inadvertently use their hands for everything they need – including picking up things from the ground, placing their hands on the commode, playing in the sand etc. A stringent set of rules, with goodies for compliance, keep them interested in the hand-washing drill.
Accumulation of nail-dirt on the hands and feet is the main reason for the spread of disease in children. While it is possible that they frequently wash their hands, nail-dirt just stays put. By monitoring the growth of children’s nails and cutting them regularly we can be sure that their hands are spanking clean every time they are washed.
Wearing Clean Clothes and Shoes
From a child’s perspective, getting out is more important than getting dressed, and it falls to parents to instill a sense of cleanliness and neatness in them. Training children in the habit of wearing clean, pressed clothes and polished shoes every time they step out, is worth the time and effort, especially in the long run.
Using a Tissue / Handkerchief
Children use their hands as a ready tool for all known activity. It is common to see children wipe their hands on their clothes after sneezing, coughing or wiping their nose/mouth. Make them carry a handkerchief or a pack of tissues and they are sure to make you proud.
Children must be given potty-training at a very young age to accustom them to the habit of relieving themselves within the first two hours of waking up. Children who are not trained in this manner are irritable, slow and less interested in the activities of the day. Teaching them to clean up after using the toilet is a task most parents dislike. Nevertheless, it is imperative.
Kids love to keep munching on snacks and anything other than home-cooked food is the object of their interest. Colour and texture appeal to their tastebuds. According to them, chocolate, chips and burgers qualify as meals, for which they display a phenomenal appetite. It is important to formulate a diet plan and schedule, depending on age, and follow it up through the resistance, while gradually weaning them off binge-eating.
Children who have been trained to be healthy and hygienic also exhibit confidence in demeanor, discipline in routine, propriety in attitude, respect for others and value for their belongings and the environment at large.