Photo by Kamaji Ogino

Personal hygiene is an important aspect of keeping yourself healthy. Aside from making you look clean, it can also help prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Most diseases spread through the oral-facial route or through the nose via droplets. Teaching the concept of good hygiene should start early on in a person’s life.

What is personal hygiene for children?

Personal hygiene is composed of all daily activities that you do like brushing your teeth, bathing, washing your hands, and changing into clean clothes. As soon as your kids start to understand these words, you can slowly start introducing the concept of keeping a clean body.

You can let your kids enjoy their childhood by allowing them to play in the park, in school, and with other children. This means they will be in contact with dirt, dust, germs, and bacteria. If this becomes a regular occurrence, the child can get more health conditions like:

  • Tooth decay
  • Skin rashes
  • Bacterial or fungal infections
  • Viral infections


Why teach children good personal hygiene?


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Teaching kids about personal hygiene helps them protect their bodies from illness and keep them presentable. In addition, they also help stop the spread of diseases to others, which is a crucial lesson this pandemic has taught everyone.


However, family dental practitioners in Sarnia and other areas will recommend that you don’t stop at teaching good hygiene only to young children. Teens and young adults also need reminders, especially when experiencing hormonal changes. Around this time, the hormonal changes can cause body odour, pimples, and other similar skin problems.


Children who observe proper hygienic practices are more likely to:

  • Stay free from illnesses and diseases due to bacteria and viruses
  • Feel confident about themselves
  • Look more presentable and charming to others
  • Maintain a healthy body image


Ways to Teach Children Personal Hygiene


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Wherever kids are, they must always observe hygiene practices. It is easier to remember these habits if they are taught in the most creative way. Here are 8 ways to teach kids of all age regarding good hygiene:


1. Nursery rhymes

It is especially effective for young children to use nursery rhymes. The catchy songs can be repeated throughout the day until the kids remember them by heart. For example, the Washing Hands song teaches children the steps to properly wash their hands to keep dirt and germs away.


2. Create germ models

If your child is an experiential learner, do-it-yourself activities are a great way to teach them health concepts. You may create germ models with them using clay, dough, and other art materials in your home. Throughout the process, share with your children how this germ can cause them to get sick. Also, share the ways they can keep the germs away so they will not get sick.


3. Go germ hunting

Are you a science buff? You can make good use of this by introducing your children to germs and viruses using different experiments, the easiest would be to go germ hunting. As germs can thrive in areas that seem dirt-free to the naked eye, you can use a microscope to prove that they are everywhere.


You can start the activity by letting kids identify the clean parts of their bodies - the hands for example — and get a swab sample. Put the sample under a microscope and let the kids see the germs from their own hands. Let them wash and repeat the process. This will prove that with good hygiene, they will be free from germs.


4. Use book and stories

Like songs, stories are also effective ways to capture the children’s attention while teaching them important lessons. Grab a few storybooks from your local bookstore or search for interesting stories online. There are also smartphone apps with interesting stories that you can use.


5. Encourage positive reinforcement

Why do dental offices in London have an ice cream or lollipop ready for children? The answer is positive reinforcement. Children like it when they are getting rewards for their good behaviour.


You don’t always have to give them treats to encourage them to stick to these routines, a simple acknowledgment, pat on the back, and kind words would be enough to make them feel that what they are doing is correct.


6. Teach by doing

Kids love imitating adults. This is one of the invitations for parents to lead their children by example. Some child development studies compare kids to a sponge that absorbs things that they come in contact with. By letting kids see that the adults consider brushing as an important part of their daily routine, they will also have the same regard for the activity.


7. Add fun to hygienic habits

Some dentists in Ottawa have toothbrushes shaped to resemble cartoon characters with fun colours. This is not just to attract but a good way to promote brushing in children. The cartoon characters, fragrance, colours, and special features (like lights and changing handles) are just a few of the ways to add fun to brushing so kids can look forward to it each time.


8. Create and stick to routines

Developing routines encourage people to stick to habits. By setting a schedule for the morning, bath time, and nighttime routines, children will grow up with these habits. Eventually, they will never have to be told to go and wash their hands, brush their teeth, or change their clothes as these routines have been ingrained in their lifestyle.


Parents need to start children young when it comes to teaching hygienic habits. Getting started early inculcates the habits earlier in their lives. Aside from developing a routine, kids will also get great benefits from keeping a healthy body while warding off germs and viruses.