Now, more than ever, it’s vital parents teach their children the importance of good hygiene from an early age.
As a child’s immune system is not yet fully developed, they are more prone to falling ill. If children don’t practise good hygiene, it’s easier for germs to spread, especially if they come into contact with other children at school.
Here’s how you can teach your little one good hygiene:
For the first 6 weeks, newborn babies can’t really do much to get dirty. This means you only need to bath them every two to three days. Start by using just water or non-fragranced cream, which is less dehydrating, until bath-time becomes more regular and you can use all those irresistible-smelling baby toiletries.
Also, keep an eye on your baby’s nails and trim them if they get too long to avoid them scratching themselves.
From 12 months of age is the perfect time to introduce good hygiene habits. Start by teaching your child how to brush their teeth and try getting your baby to let you know when their nappy is wet. This will take some time, but just keep asking them and eventually, they’ll get the hang of it. From about 18 months, they can start learning how to wash and rinse their hands by themselves. But just a word of warning, keeping clean can be quite a messy business at this age.
Don’t start potty training until your child is ready for it. But, you can start telling your toddler about the potty and explain what it’s used for. This may also need some repetition. Leave the potty in the bathroom for them to see and speak to them about it as often as possible. Include the potty itself while doing other bathroom activities, like brushing teeth. Let them sit on it as part of their routine, even if nothing happens. Above all, keep a positive attitude about potty training and don’t force them to use it if they don’t want to.
From the age of three, your child’s bladder control improves considerably. But keep in mind that some children, especially boys, take a little longer before they’re totally potty trained. So even though a few ‘accidents’ may still occur, expect your toddler to start using and flushing the toilet, as well as washing and drying their hands. They’ll also start brushing their teeth and bathing. All under supervision, of course.
Your older child
Keeping clean is no longer such a messy business. Your child should be able to wash and dry their own face, bath themselves, brush their own teeth, and even go to the toilet by themselves. Just be sure to keep encouraging this independent behaviour when it comes to your toddler’s hygiene.
By the time your child turns 6 they should be completely independent when it comes to their hygiene habits. They’ll be able to bath themselves, brush their own hair (although they may need a little help if it’s long), brush their teeth and use the toilet whenever they need it without any help.