Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

4 Secrets for Parents Wanting to Instill Good Hygiene Behaviors into Children

While kids are cute, they are also prolific germ spreaders. Kids do not always realize that their behaviors are unhygienic. With these four tips, you can instill good hygiene behaviors into your children, and these behaviors will last for a lifetime.

Making Hand Washing Fun

Kids often use the toilet and then skip the crucial hand washing step. Teach kids to use soap and warm water and to sing the song “Happy Birthday” twice while scrubbing and washing. If your child still resists washing his or her hands, go soap shopping. Choose a fun color of hand soap or a cool soap dispenser to inspire good bathroom hygiene.

Creating a Fun Bath Experience

Getting your kids to cooperate for a bath can be another exercise in frustration. Make bath time more fun by purchasing a few toys that are only used in the bathtub. Measuring cups and spoons are a good choice and can go in the dishwasher when bath time is over. Consider reading a story or playing an audio book while your child is in the bath. This helps to pass the time.

Instilling Healthy Dental Habits

Many kids will do anything to avoid brushing or flossing their teeth. Take your child toothbrush shopping and let him or her choose a fun one. Professionals, like those at Dentistry for Children & Adolescents, know that you could consider a toothbrush with a built-in timer. This reminds kids to keep brushing until their two minutes have been completed. Choose a flavor of toothpaste and mouth rinse that your kids like. Let them spit into the bathtub when they’re done brushing or rinsing.

Keeping Germs to Themselves

Another challenging task for parents is teaching kids to cough or sneeze into their elbows. There are some engaging and amusing videos that demonstrate how far mucus and spit are sprayed when someone coughs or sneezes. Show your kids how the germs released from a cough or sneeze can land all over a surface or float in the air and get breathed in by someone else. Give your kids their own pocket packs of tissues or a box of tissues with a fun decorative print.

Remember that it takes about three weeks to develop a new habit. Be patient with your child as you teach him or her good hygiene behaviors. Monitor your child as he or she works on these new habits. You can also be a role model for good hygiene yourself. Your kids may even start reminding you of good hygiene around the house.

Tim Esterdahl

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