While these may be uncertain times, it’s becoming clear what truly matters in life: family and health. We’re all spending more time with our families, and want nothing more than to keep them safe and healthy.
Coronavirus has taught us that in order to do so, it’s important to make sure our family follows proper hygiene routines. Not only are we all becoming more aware of how germs and illnesses are spread, but we’ve developing new health routines, too.
What better time than now to get your child on board?
If your wiggle worms have a hard time even pausing to listen to you talk about hygiene, let alone making it a priority, you’re not alone. Most kids don’t want to worry about taking a shower when there’s all kinds of other fun and exciting things taking their attention.
But there are plenty of easy and fun methods to help your kids learn the importance of hygiene and to solidify a routine that will keep themselves (and those around them) healthy.
Different Types of Hygiene
Children are prone to follow routines and rules better if they know the reason for them. It’s worth it to take an extra bit of time to get detailed and let your child know all the benefits that good hygiene has for their health — and the health of others.
To start, you’ll want to go over the different types of hygiene with your kids. These include:
Keeping nails short and clean to prevent scratching or bacterial build up. Starting from infancy, children need their nails trimmed or filed about once a week and cleaned each day while washing their hands.
Ensuring they’ve been thoroughly wiping in the right directions and a full hand wash afterward.
Keeping teeth free from bacterial build up that causes tooth decay by brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and visiting a dentist regularly.
Bath and shower hygiene
Bathing regularly to wash away sweat, dirt, and oils. Kids should start bathing daily around age 8 or 9, when their hormones begin to produce more sweat and scents.
When children feel ill, it’s important that they prevent spreading germs to others by covering their mouths when coughing or sneezing, disinfecting things they’ve touched, etc.
The number one tip for preventing coronavirus and other contagious illnesses is ensuring hands are washed thoroughly for 20 seconds with soap and water.
Many activities call for hand washing, and kids should be mindful about washing their hands before and after eating, after using the bathroom, playing outside, handling a pet, after throwing out garbage and more.
How to Educate Your Kids on Hygiene
When it comes to educating children on the benefits of good hygiene practices, Dr. Danelle Fisher from Providence Saint John’s Health Center recommends giving your kids the 101 on germs. Dr. Fisher explains germs to her patients as tiny little bugs that we can only see with microscopes.
Some of these germs can be good (like probiotics), and others can make us sick. They can jump from person to person or surface to person, and that’s why it’s important to stay clean!
From here, you can delve in more using some fun educational tools and activities below.
Glitter Germs Game
I know, I know…the idea of having glitter in the house might makes you cringe. After all, it can stick to everything and be hard to pick up.
But why not put the glitter that you already have sitting around to good use, and take advantage of its messiness to help you teach a life-long lesson?
Plus, the mess will be (mostly) controlled, we promise.
All you need for the glitter germs game is glitter, soap and water.
Step 1: First, put a tiny bit of glitter on your hand, and let your kids know that these represent germs. Touch the child’s shoulder, toys etc. to show how easy it is to spread germs.
Step 2: Then, give your kids a nice glitter-filled handshake. Challenge them to get every bit of glitter off their hands by washing them.
First have them wash with water only. Observe the glitter left behind.
Step 3: Next, try again with soap, and have them scrub every part of their hands for 20 seconds. During this, you can practice singing their favorite song, or reciting a rhyme to help them pass the time.
Kids will be surprised at the difference a little extra “oomph” in their hand washing makes — and you might be, too!
The Hygiene Matching Game
Matching games are a classic for a reason. They’re challenging, entertaining and, when done right, educational!
Create 10 cards featuring hygiene product like a toothbrush or nail file, then 10 cards displaying the parts of the body they can be used on.
Have your child flip the cards to match the tool with the body part. If it’s too easy, try using a timer to have them try to match the cards even faster.
Show kids the fun of self-care by pampering yourselves together with a calming face mask.
Simply mix 1 cup of cooked oatmeal with 6 tablespoons of honey and 6 tablespoons of plain yogurt. Apply it to your face, and have your child apply it to theirs, taking care to avoid the eyes.
Relax together for 15 minutes, then wash it off and enjoy your nice, soft skin afterwards!
Sneak some extra education into your child’s screen time with PBS Kid’s game Germinator.
In Germinator, your kids play a germ trying to infect 3 villains to keep them from taking over the world. The villains happen to have incredible immune systems, so it becomes quite the challenge.
Kids learn about the intricacies of the human immune system, how it fights germs, and how illnesses occur.
No app download is required. just pop on to pbskids.org and get playing!
Books to Help Teach Your Kids About Hygiene Health
Pick up some fun books to keep around the house that help your kids learn the ins-and-outs of good hygiene while improving their literacy skills.
The Care and Keeping of You
The Care and Keeping of You is a book written specifically for elementary school girls, and gives the 101 on feminine hygiene, including everything from hair care to acne and menstruation.
With pleasant animations and fun, accessible language, your kiddo will feel like she’s chatting with a girlfriend.
The Tooth Book
Help your kiddo learn about dental hygiene with the whimsical assistance of Dr. Seuss. The Tooth Book has a range of kooky characters and touches on who and what has teeth, who doesn’t, and why it’s important to try to keep them strong and healthy.
Parts by Tedd Arnold is a humorous and educational book that talks candidly about all the changes your child’s body goes through, from the first tooth loss to puberty.
It touches on why these changes happen, and how your child can take care of their body as it grows.
The extra time at home lately makes for a great opportunity to teach your kids something new. And with all the changes their bodies are going through, hygiene is a great place to start!
Give these fun activities and books a shot, and watch your child’s interest in self-care grow as fast as they do!