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Personal Hygiene for Kids – The essentials you need to know : Child health and development

Personal hygiene is one of the many traits which are essential for humans irrespective of their age, sex, and other differentiating factors. But when it comes to kids, health hygiene plays a significant role in the development of a child as an adult. That is why personal hygiene for kids is one of the areas which is to be taken special care of. This is not only important not only because it leads to a cleaner way of living, but also it keeps kids away from diseases and teaches them the importance of health hygiene. To a small kid, taking care of himself/herself may be an irritating task as kids aren’t aware of personal hygiene. For them, its just a task that needs to be fulfilled anyhow and sometimes the children themselves run away from this. This is the reason children need to know why is personal hygiene important.

health essentials for kids : advise for parents : health tips for children
health essentials for kids : advise for parents

What does personal hygiene mean?

Personal hygiene is not only limited to wearing clean clothes and washing hands before meals. Instead, personal hygiene for kids covers diverse habits which involve keeping care of themselves along with ensuring a neat and clean environment. If a kid has this habit right from the start, it automatically helps during puberty because, during that phase, hormonal secretion causes oils, sweat and sebum glands to increase the secretion and hence various issues like dirty face, foul odor from the body is observed. As a parent, one should cultivate this trait in his/her kid right from the beginning.

Why is personal hygiene important?

The answer to this question seems obvious. Personal hygiene is important to assure proper growth of a child in a healthy environment. Not only this, personal hygiene has a lot of significance in different aspects for a kid. It has major social significance because the way a kid follows hygiene habits makes him/her likable amongst fellow kids. If a kid is well acquainted with this, more kids will be attracted to him/her as compared to the kid who has some dirty habits like nose-picking or constantly smelling bad. This may seem a small thing for grown adults, but for kids, interaction is must and this directly affects the social behavior of a child and other personality characteristics such as confidence and self-esteem. Apart from the social significance, personal hygiene for kids also has direct health significance too. It is very obvious that the kids who follow hygienic habits tend to stay away from diseases and infections when compared to the kids who don’t follow proper health hygiene.

How to maintain personal hygiene?

According to some experts and pediatricians, personal hygiene comprises of three ‘pillars’ namely body cleaning, oral hygiene and clean clothing habits. Along with these three pillars of personal hygiene, another aspect comes into play as food hygiene. When the kid is in the toddler stage, he/she is unaware of what exactly is he/she eating. Various factors like the vulnerability of food toward microbes, the presence of pets and the location where food is kept influences the health factor of food hygiene. Primarily, parents must ensure completely hygienic food and secondly, they must teach the toddler about the basic healthy food habits such as not to eat food which was kept in open for long, and not to consume the food which spills on the floor.

There are many small steps by which parents can teach their child and cultivate a habit of hygienic habits amongst them. Some of them are listed below:

  • Washing hands before taking a meal and after coming from washrooms with sanitary soaps or sanitizers.
  • Taking proper care and following oral hygiene routine which includes brushing teeth twice a day in order to keep the mouth as much microbe free as possible.
  • Keeping nails short because longer nails are breeding grounds for harmful bacteria and most of them enter via hands.
  • Covering one’s mouth during sneezing or coughing with a handkerchief or tissue and proper disposal of the tissue.
  • It is very important to teach pre-schoolers how to use toilets. Inadequate use of toilets is a major cause of harmful infections in kids.
  • One of the major areas where contagious microorganisms reside is the human hair. So, teaching a kid ideal washing habits is a must step while making a kid aware of the personal hygiene.

These were some habits that a kid must be taught in order to cultivate personal hygiene in him/her. There are some other habits which involve keeping the surroundings clean such as wiping the study desk and chair with a spare cloth before sitting on it. Also, changing clothes and socks daily, washing shoes at regular time intervals are some of the things that should be kept in mind and taught by parents.

How to make your child maintain hygienic habits?

Generally, parents face a challenge to make their child habitual of such things. If the child himself is not ready in the first place, then how can the parent teach him these habits? To overcome, this situation, parents can make these activities interactive by rewarding their kid. Parents can also make certain rules like the kid can enter the kitchen or avail dining table only after washing hands. These activities can also be made fun for children when parents accompany the kids together such as brushing together or washing hands together. Parents can also try to make children sing songs while doing activities as this will generate a sense of interest amongst them regarding personal hygiene.

There are many soaps that also come in catchy shapes that children love and which encourage them to use and wash hands.

If personal hygiene is neglected and the kid lives in an unhealthy and poor environment, this leaves the kid more prone to harmful contagious diseases because of a comparatively weaker immune system. As discussed earlier, personal hygiene also raises confidence and self-esteem indirectly. Lack of personal hygiene in terms of body and cleanliness causes skin diseases and the fragile skin of kid may undergo harmful bacterial infections. Similarly, neglecting oral hygiene results in cavities and premature loss of milk teeth in extreme cases.

As children grow in age, gradually their personal hygiene habits change by the time puberty is achieved. Once a routine is established while the kid is still in childhood, then the kid himself can take care and cultivate proper personal hygiene within. These habits should be taught to the children as and when the kid enters into the toddler phase and gradually make him/her habitual of personal hygiene which encourage the kid to learn bathing, washing and proceed to do further activities by self by the time the kid reaches schooling age.

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