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 they will learn to take care of it by themself.
Hygiene: the basics
While you certainly need to teach your child the basic rules of hygiene, the best way they will 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 them – that you clean your teeth as often as you want them 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, your child isn’t old enough to be entirely in charge of their personal hygiene but if you do the groundwork now and instil a sense of what is expected, as your child matures they will become more responsible until one day (far, far off in the future!), they may surprise you and wash their hands without prompting.
- Teach about germs and how they can make us sick if we don’t keep ourselves clean. Show when and how to wash their hands properly using soap – make sure that they wash the backs of their hands too.
- If your child 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 used to get onto the toilet
- While you wash your child in the bath, explain what you’re doing and then let them have a turn with the soap
- Teach your child how to clean their teeth morning and night – no matter how much they protest, they won’t be old enough to take charge of this activity until they are about 6 years old, but they can have a turn before you brush their teeth.
- Teach your child to cover their mouth with the crook of their arm when they cough and how to use a tissue to blow their 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.