All toddlers get dirty when they play – let’s be honest, most toddlers even seem to get dirty when they sleep. And while that’s all good stuff, you need to begin to teach them some basic rules of hygiene. The more often your toddler is reminded about cleanliness, the faster he’ll learn to take care of it himself.
Hygiene: the basics
While you certainly need to teach your child the basic rules of hygiene, the best way he’ll learn is to follow your lead. Make sure you’re always being a good role-model and follow the same guidelines you set out for him – that you clean your teeth as often as you want him to, that you wash your hands after you’ve played with the cat, that you take care of your own personal hygiene in the same way you want your child to.
At this age, he isn’t old enough to be entirely in charge of his personal hygiene but if you do the groundwork now and instil in him a sense of what is expected, as he matures he’ll become more responsible until one day (far, far off in the future!), he may surprise you and wash his hands without prompting.
- Teach him about germs and how they can make us sick if we don’t keep ourselves clean. Show him when and how to wash his hands properly using soap – make sure that he washes the backs of his hands too.
- If he is going to have trouble accessing the taps or the soap, you may have to use a step in the bathroom – perhaps the same one he uses to get onto the toilet
- While you wash him in the bath, explain to him what you’re doing and then let him have a turn with the soap
- Teach him how to clean his teeth morning and night – no matter how much he protests, he won’t be old enough to take charge of this activity until he’s about 6 years old, but he can have a turn before you brush his teeth.
- Teach him to cover his mouth when he coughs and how to use a tissue blow his nose - this one can be tricky though, as some children don’t learn to blow their nose properly until they are close to school age because they struggle to understand how to force air through their nose)
This article was written by Ella Walsh for Kidspot.
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