Good habits are best inculcated at an early age. Here are the top 10 health and hygiene tips you should be teaching your kids.
Hygiene for most children translates into “wash your hands before eating your meal”. The fact is, there’s a lot more to hygiene than that. Below are some tips to inculcate in kids today that’ll make them healthier and less prone to infections.
Health and hygiene tips for kids
- Cleaning kids’ ears: Everyone’s ears produce wax but excess wax gets dried up and comes out on its own. Do not use ear buds to clean your child’s ears as you may damage the eardrum; instead, use a washcloth dipped in warm water to wipe the outside of the ears and also behind them.
- Brushing their teeth: Kids need to start brushing even before they start sprouting teeth. That means you need to start with a flexible finger brush (in which you slide your pointer) and brush with water. Toothpaste can be used only after a year when they can spit it out. Also, brushing twice a day is recommended with an emphasis on night brushing.
- Bathing your child: Some children hate having a bath. Bring their favourite toy in the bathtub, change to a mild baby shampoo, change the brand of soap – do whatever it takes to get them to like bath time. You could even promise them a treat after their bath, which may speed up the process considerably.
- Washing hands: Washing hands is something your child will end up doing many times a day so it is important to educate your child on when washing hands is a must. For example; after using the toilet, after reaching home from school and before eating anything. Remember to wash with a good soap or handwash liquid to get the germs out as plain water will not do the trick.
- Using a sanitizer: Sometimes when soap and water is unavailable, teach your child to whip out the handy bottle of sanitizer. Just squeeze a small amount on the palm, rub both surfaces of hands and there – clean and good smelling hands appear!
- Cleaning their private parts: Boys should be taught not try to retract the foreskin over the head of the penis. Just clean the exposed area with a mild soap and water. If you’re teaching your daughter to wipe herself with toilet paper after urinating, remember the right way of motion is from front to back and not the other way round.
- Wearing clean underwear: In hot weather or when the child is physically active, underwear may be required to be changed twice a day. Have enough underwear for your child keeping this in mind and inculcate the importance of clean underwear from a young age.
- Tipss for when your child has a cold: When your child has a runny nose, pin a handkerchief onto his shirt or stuff some tissues into his pockets. Nasal discharge can infect other children so it’s important to educate your child to wipe his nose whenever necessary and wash his hands often.
- Putting the toilet cover before flushing: When you flush the toilet, germs from your urine or poop could fly outside and contaminate your toothbrush, toothpaste or other items. Hence make it a habit to cover the toilet with the cover before flushing.
- Stopping bad habits: If your child sucks his thumb or rubs his eyes habitually, gently remove his thumb or fingers from the spot and distract him with his favourite toy or book. The longer he clings on to this behaviour, the harder it will be to get him to stop.
A friendly note to parents: Your child imitates your behaviour more often than you imagine so cultivate good habits yourself and your child will automatically copy you. Happy parenting!
Written by Dr Nisreen Nakhoda, General Physician
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