In the formative years of children, they are most prone to many kinds of transmittable infections. According to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), children under the age of five are especially vulnerable to infectious diseases like malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea, HIV and tuberculosis. They have a very fragile immune system to fend off such diseases. But they come in contact with a lot of their peers at schools or playgrounds.
This makes them prone to contracting diseases that can be transferred from person to person.
As a parent, you have a huge role to play in safeguarding the health of your ward by teaching him or her fundamentals of personal hygiene and the importance of observing them.
Here are some key personal hygiene tips you can share with your children:
One of the most important preventive habits is handwashing. It is perhaps the most fun personal hygiene measure that children should learn. Many diseases and infections can be spread through an act as simple as the shaking of hands or the touching of unclean surfaces. Teaching children to regularly disinfect their hands with soap and water is very vital.
Parents should teach their wards to wash their hands before and after meals, after using the toilet, after playing with friends, before going outside the house and upon their return, after coughing or blowing their noses and after being around anyone who may have done such. There’s no limit to how much kids can wash their hands in a day, and so they can practice handwashing as frequently as possible.
Oral hygiene is a very important aspect of personal hygiene. Not only does it boost the self confidence of children among their peers, but it also prevents a number of diseases such as mouth sores, dementia, cavities and osteoporosis, amongst others.
Teach your children to brush their teeth at least twice a day. Encourage the use of tools like dental floss and toothpicks to safely remove unwanted particles from their teeth. Also, extra precision should be taken when selecting toothpaste and toothbrush brands for children, preferably at the advice of a professional dentist.
Educate your children on the importance of taking baths regularly. Bathing at least twice a day and also after playtime goes a long way to protect children from a wide range of skin diseases. Again, parents need to be meticulous with selecting the brands of soap, cream and other skincare products used on their children.
There are many other fundamental hygiene practices children need to learn, including covering their mouths and noses whenever they cough or sneeze and regularly trimming their fingernails and toenails.
Enlightening children on personal hygiene and its importance requires the full participation of parents and guardians. Children are more likely to get on board when they see their role models practice these healthy habits as they enforce them. Children need to learn that practicing proper hygiene protects not just them, but also the people around them.