7 Healthy Habits Every Child Should Know

There’s an old proverb which says “see the child at 7 and see the adult”. So here are a few must-learn healthy habits for kids so that the future adult isn’t snot-covered and sunburnt!

Wear a hat

The habit of putting on a hat whenever your child heads outdoors can start being taught from when he’s a baby. Most schools and childcare centres have a “No hat, no play” rule, so try enforcing one similar at home. And lead by example – make sure you always put on a hat whenever you go outside too.

Why you need to wear a hat

  • Overexposure to UV during childhood and adolescence is known to be a major cause of skin cancer.
  • 90% of damage leading to premature aging of the skin is cause by UV rays from the sun.

Coughing and sneezing etiquette

It seems that some kids constantly have a cough, cold and a very runny nose. Teach your littlie early to turn their head away from other people when coughing or sneezing and cover their mouth with their upper sleeve or elbow – not hand – or a tissue. Any used tissues should be immediately put in the rubbish bin and then hands washed with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, then dried thoroughly . If soap and water is not available, use hand sanitiser.

Why you need to take care when you cough and sneeze

  • Cold and flu germs spread from person to person by way of coughing, sneezing or even talking. Droplets from an infected person get into the air and are inhaled by people nearby – anyone within a metre can be infected.

Wear a helmet

Whether your child is riding a scooter or a bike even up and down the driveway, he should be encouraged to wear a helmet from a young age so it becomes second nature. There are lots of very cool and colourful helmets available for children, just make sure it’s a good fit.

Why you need to wear a helmet

  • According to research from the US, wearing a bicycle helmet reduces the risk of serious head injury by as much as 85% in the event of a crash, and the risk of brain injury by up to 88%. Helmets have also been shown to reduce the risk of injury to the upper and mid-face by 65%.

Wash your hands

You can’t have a list of healthy habits for kids without including this one. But this a simplified message, without the need for anti-bacterial soaps. All your child needs to do is use regular soap, water and friction to make their hands clean. Teach them to wash their hands after using the toilet, blowing their nose or playing with pets, and before eating.

Why you need to wash your hands

  • Hand-washing is one of the most effective and important ways to control the spread of germs. Vigorous washing for 20 seconds – or for the time it take to sing the ABC song – is all that’s needed to get clean hands, according to the US Centre for Disease Control.
  • Don’t scare the kids with this fact, but diseases like meningitis, flu, hepatitis A and most forms of infectious diarrhoea can be spread simply by dirty hands.

Clean your teeth

There’s no escaping this healthy habit with oral health so closely associated with overall health. If your child gets used to having their teeth cleaned twice a day, it will be an ingrained habit by the time they are in pre-school. Seeing parents clean their own teeth in the morning and night is also a subliminal habit-forming device.

Why you need to clean your teeth

  • The human mouth has been described as a “window to your body’s overall health”. For example, poor oral health and gum disease has been linked with heart disease and cardiovascular problems.
  • Baby teeth serve as spacers for the adult teeth. If the baby teeth need to be removed due to decay, they won’t be there to guide in the adult teeth which could lead to very costly orthodontic treatment to repair a bad bite or crooked teeth.

Don’t share drinks…

… or iceblocks, lollypops, cutlery or chap sticks. Many nasty germs are spread this way. Don’t scare your children, but firmly enforce a “no drink sharing” stance and practice the same at home.

Why you don’t share food

  • The diseases spread by saliva include colds, flu and more serious ailments like meningitis and meningicoccal. So not sharing drinks and so on is a sensible practice for children to adopt.

Make healthy food choices

Your child needs your help completely for this – both in a providing and modelling role. Keep the pantry, fridge and fruit basket filled with yummy and nutritious snacks and meal options. Keep introducing him to healthy food and, as he gets a bit older, include him in making decisions about what to cook for dinner, or pack for lunch. A really good tip is to keep lots of fruit and veggies peeled, washed and cut up in the fridge – prepared fruit is a lot more palatable and enticing for grown ups and kids alike.

Why you need to make healthy food choices

  • Recent statistics from the World Health Organisation show that 22 million children in the world under the age of five years are severely overweight. Research suggests many of these children will grow up to be overweight or obese adults which brings a myriad of health problems.
  • It’ll be healthier for you too – studies have found that kids tend to mirror their parents’ eating habits so show them how much you love fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrains and lean meats

Which is your biggest challenge when it comes to kids’ hygiene?

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  1. dawnblyth 02/06/2019 at 9:23 pm

    Teeth brushing! You would think it would one of the easier to remember to do but we often forget as we get so busy in the mornings getting ready for school etc that it slips our minds.

  2. SarahBlair 02/06/2019 at 8:01 pm

    My biggest challenge with my kids hygiene is reminding my youngest to wash his hands before eating, he thinks that if they look clean that they are fine, and when he is hungry he would rather get eating that stop to wash his hands

  3. candyjanenz 02/06/2019 at 4:08 pm

    At the moment my children love brushing their own teeth but are still at an age where they need help from mum and dad so this can make it harder.

  4. kymmage 02/06/2019 at 10:55 am

    These are all great habits to have. Miss 12 does great with all of these. Her new d hool has two hat options and she went with the bucket hat to be more sun smart than a cap. She is incredibly germ-phobic which means that we have no issues with her washing her hands and body and not sharing food and drink and she almost brushes her teeth tooo much! Miss 7 has a lot of catching up to do 😂

  5. MuddledUpMolly 28/05/2019 at 5:39 pm

    This is a great article but I had never heard that saying before today. Thankfully Master 9 has some pretty adequate hygiene habits and Miss 2 is exceptional for her age. Definitely takes time, consistency and modelling from the big people though 🙂

  6. Mands1980 28/05/2019 at 4:36 pm

    These 7 healthy habits are so important for all of your life. I still feel like I say have you washed your hands or have you brushed your teeth and quite often they have not done this. Our school does not let them go in the sun with out a hat which is very important to get them to remember

  7. Shorrty4life1 26/05/2019 at 9:15 pm

    Biggest challenge when comes to personal hygiene is teeth brushing. They see me every morning and night brushing my teeth yet they don’t follow suit. I have to say to them let me smell your breathe and then go ewww yuck for them to brush their teeth and I won’t kiss them if they got stink breathe and haven’t brushed teeth in the mornings lol. It’s like my pet hate to see yuck food covered plaque covered teeth

  8. Micht 23/05/2019 at 4:37 pm

    I think we struggle with the fast brushing of teeth instead of thorough and the hand in front of mouth when sneezing…it doesnt always happen but we remind all the time. .. at times ita nice to see when she actually does it without being reminded.

  9. Bevik1971 22/05/2019 at 10:22 am

    I love this article! We have instilled all of these into our daughter 🙂 I know the importance of all of these points and we have explained all of them to her with reasonings as to why they are important. I think kids are more understanding than some parents believe – if you get down to their level and explain things to them they are more understanding when sometimes we need to say no 🙂

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