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How can I teach my child about good hygiene practices?

As a parent, your children’s health and hygiene will be one of your top priorities.

This is true not only to keep them safe but also to develop good habits for life.

Your challenge will be to engage your child in learning about cleanliness. That’s why we’ve put together some children’s hygiene activities to make it fun. Read on for our children’s hygiene checklist.

Hygiene starts with good handwashing

Germs are often spread by hand contact. That’s why it’s so important for children to learn when and how to wash their hands.

Get them to wash their hands:

  • When they are dirty
  • After going to the toilet
  • Before meal times
  • Before helping you with cooking
  • After sneezing, coughing or blowing their nose
  • After touching any body fluids like blood or vomit
  • After petting animals

Good handwashing technique is important, too. Ensure they use soap and water and break it down into stages:

  • Wet your hands.
  • Add soap.
  • Lather and rub for 20 seconds.
  • Rinse.
  • Dry.

To encourage them, use a reward chart or get them to practise on a toy’s hands.

In between handwashing, show them how to use hand sanitiser gel.

Making bath time fun

Regular baths or showers should be part of your child’s hygiene routine, especially when the weather is warmer.

It’s easy to make bath time fun by adding bubbles or toys to the water. Try activities like:

  • Using washable bath paints to draw on bathroom tiles (don’t worry, they can be cleaned off easily!)
  • Reading bath books together
  • Filling the bath with plastic balls
  • Guessing which objects will float and which will sink in the water
  • Getting in yourself and joining in the fun!

You can also encourage independence by showing your child how to wash themselves with soap and rinse off in the bath or shower themselves.

Children’s dental hygiene activities

The Department of Health says that 25% of children between five and 10 have untreated decay in their baby teeth.

That’s why it’s so important to set a good dental hygiene routine at an early age.

Try these hacks to make dental hygiene fun:

  • Make larger-than-life tooth models out of papier-mâché, egg cartons or upside-down yoghurt pots. Fill in the gaps between them with plasticine. Then use an old toothbrush to brush it away, leaving the teeth clean. You can also use garden twine for dental floss to reach the nooks and crannies.
  • Boil an egg and put it in a glass of water with a couple of drops of food colouring for a day. Just like teeth, eggshells will stain when exposed to certain substances. Have fun brushing away the colouring with whitening toothpaste and an old toothbrush.
  • Use a timer when your child is cleaning their teeth so they understand how long they should be brushing for.
  • Brush your teeth at the same time as your child so it becomes a shared activity.

Hygiene outside the home

Be a good citizen and practise hygiene outside the home, too.

When you are out, make sure both you and your child wear face masks to reduce the risk of spreading infection.

Try a face mask with a bright design to appeal to your child or a matching parent-and-child set.

Be careful to wash your hands often, particularly after touching surfaces or money or before you eat.

Show your child how to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue or into their inner elbow when they cough or sneeze. Any tissues should be thrown away straight after. Then they should wash their hands with soap and water.

Be a hygiene hero!

Setting a good example to your child is one of the most effective ways of teaching them about hygiene.

You can do this by:

  • Explaining what you are doing and why – for example, you can say, “I’m going to start cooking now so the first thing I need to do is wash my hands.”
  • Showering at a set time every day so your child understands this is part of a normal routine
  • Brushing and flossing your teeth with your child to teach good technique
  • Offering them the chance to wash or sanitise their hands every time you do so it becomes an inclusive activity

Making good hygiene second nature

Once you get into good hygiene habits with your child, they will become second nature.

Make it easy by choosing products from the FeverMates range, designed to make life cleaner and healthier for you and your child.

From hand sanitiser to face masks, we’ve got hygiene covered!

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