The Importance of Personal Hygiene for Children

Why is personal hygiene important?

As the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure. This is especially the case when it comes to young children. Your little ones are excited to experience the world and to discover it on their own terms but, this can lead to parents becoming neurotic messes armed with hand sanitiser and wipes.

While avoiding all germs is unavoidable there is a lot you can do to prepare your child for the outside world. Good hygiene habits are key to ensuring the safety of your child and the children they interact with. We’ve put together a list of ways your tyke can learn good habits to last a lifetime.

Types of Personal Hygiene

Oral Hygiene

Baby chewing on a toothbrush
One of the most obvious good habits is oral hygiene. This practice should be part of every child’s daily routine with doctors recommending a good brushing at least twice a day. While your child is young you can ensure their teeth are brushed but once they’re a little more independent it can become trickier. This is why starting the habit early is a must. To start off with you should supervise your child when they brush their teeth. You can also brush your teeth with them so they can imitate and learn from you. Brushing teeth should last for at least two minutes and should be the primary cleaning method. Feel free to add flossing and mouth wash as you see fit. Remember to use products that are safe for children.

Along with a regular cleaning regime, you should encourage your child to clean their teeth after every meal. This prevents bacteria and tooth decay. You should also encourage your child does not eat too much sugary food as this can speed up the rate of tooth decay.

Proper oral hygiene does not happen overnight so start early. Practice makes perfect so start now and help them keep that winning smile.

Bathing Habits

Child having a bath in the kitchen sink with lots of bubble
Bathing is often a love/hate relationship for children. This essential habit ensures your skin is healthy and removes dirt, dust, bacteria and dead cells. As the body’s largest organ, the skin, is incredibly important and bathing twice a day can ensure your child’s skin stays healthier for longer.

Start developing bathing habits early. Parents should bathe younger children and never leave them unattended in the bath. If you don’t have time or access to a bath, a sponge bath will do.

Once your child is old enough to wash themselves, supervise them and teach them the correct way to wash. Be sure to explain how cleaning every inch of the human body is important. Once they’ve got the basics it’s all about making sure they wash every day. This will help them socially as well as hygienically as they will feel and smell better.

Hair Care

Baby having their hair washed
Hair care is unique to everyone with different lengths, styles and types of hair. Oily, dry, curly, straight, long, short, start from an early age and your child will learn that constant care is key.

For babies be sure to use appropriate shampoos. Baby shampoos are gentler but can still sting if the suds run into their eyes. Try to keep shampoo away from the eyes when washing and be sure to comb the hair to prevent tangles. Use a large tooth comb or soft bristle brush as this will pull less and prevent any tears.

As your child gets older teach them to brush and wash their hair regularly. It’s also important to teach them that they should never share personal objects such as combs and hats. Dreaded lice infestations can wreak havoc in schools. The more aware of healthy hair hygiene, the more likely your child is to avoid coming home with an itchy head.

Hand Hygiene

Child washing hands in a sink
Washing your hands is one of the most important parts of healthy hygiene. Most people use their hands for almost every daily task. Holding, writing, moving, eating and countless other activities require hands so be sure to keep your child’s hands clean.

For younger babies, wipe their hands with a clean washcloth. As your child becomes more independent teach them how to wash their hands with soap and running water. Be sure to teach them to wash their hands for at least 15 seconds. This practice is taught as early as possible, generally it starts in our Green Rooms (2+ ages) with the younger children in our Red and Yellow rooms using wipes or sanitiser with support from our staff.

Make sure they practice this at important times such as before and after meals and after using the toilet. Hand washing is also a must if your child spends a lot of time playing outside or with pets.

Home Hygiene

Dad with 2 children vacuuming their dining room floor
Finally, hygiene is not just about cleaning your body but ensuring your environment is tidy too. Tidying belongings away, putting rubbish in bins and other simple tasks can help keep your environment clean and lower the chance of illness.  While this seems straight forward, the sooner you start instilling hygienic behaviour, the sooner your child will form a habit.

These are just a few habits that can lead to healthier, happier children. Less time sick, means more time growing, learning and experiencing life. At Stepping Stones we ensure our spaces are safe, clean and perfectly equipped to keep your little ones entertained. If you’re interested in enrolling or would like to find out more, contact us today. We’re ready and waiting to help your little one learn and grow.

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