Enforce healthy habits in your kids but make it fun! And remember, you've got to do the same as you're telling them to do.
Do your kids whine about washing their hands before dinner? Or run from the bathroom because bathing just boring? Parents have an important role in teaching cleanliness, but it can be hard to teach kids about hygiene because they don’t see what all the fuss is about. After all, part of the fun in childhood and playtime is making a mess and getting dirty.
But parents have to be pragmatic and drill in the importance of keeping clean. It’s really a matter of survival. Children are especially susceptible to illnesses and infections caused by germs. These can be spread by simply holding someone's hand, or picking up bugs and leaves at the playground. So, to avoid trips to the clinic, it’s best to keep the germs away by washing, scrubbing and showering.
Because parents and guardians can't be around all the time, it’s best to teach kids healthy, clean habits at home, and from as young as possible. The learning process doesn’t have to be dull. The idea of rules and regulations can be daunting to little ones, but not when it’s shared with a smile and plenty of fun.
Get your kids to make a face and cover their mouths when they sneeze or cough. Tell them that they're superheroes out on a quest to stop germs from spreading. Make them try the “Dracula”: cough or sneeze into the crook of their elbow rather than into their hands.
To get the most effective cleansing, wash their hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds. Rinse, then dry them with a clean cloth or paper towel. A hand sanitiser can be a good substitute if there's no running water. Make up a hand washing song with your kids – singing out the steps as they scrub and rinse. Change the tune or mix it up with different words every time. You can do the same when teaching kids how to shower or bathe properly. Make up songs so they remember to scrub every part of their body and wash them properly.
Make Up A Game
Another important example to set is to avoid touching your face with your fingers. That’s one of the easiest ways of contracting a cold or an eye infection. Come up with a challenge to see who can keep their fingers off their face the longest. The first one caught has to miss out on a treat.
Own A Colour
Make it a rule that everyone in the family use their own cups and utensils. Kids are often encouraged to share, but they may unknowingly pass on germs when they think nothing of sharing drinks with friends. Ask each child to choose a plate, cup and utensils in their favourite colour, and make it their permanent colour at home.
Learn On The Tablet
No one likes nagging parents, but things learned via gadgets are cool. So download educational apps like Pepi Wash, a role-playing game designed to let kids learn about hygiene in an interactive manner. The colourful, quirky app takes players through various tasks – putting clothes in the washing machine, washing your hands at the sink, shampooing your hair, and even using the toilet. Kids will enjoy interacting with the characters and learn a thing or two about washing up at the same time.
Be A Role Model
Instead of reminders, set a good example in front of the kids. Wash up more often before eating, after blowing your nose, after using the bathroom, and after handling pets. Kids take after their parents, so it's a good idea to start looking into your own healthy habits and make sure you're doing what you're telling them to do.
When kids learn to be mindful and responsible for their hygiene from young, it becomes a habit. They're more likely to care about their cleanliness and grooming as they grow into teens. Personal hygiene is crucial with the onset of puberty. Parents with teens must make it a point to have regular discussions about cleanliness, especially when the need for deodorant, shaving and acne treatment come into play.
The best bet would be to have frequent showers, with products that suit the spectrum of your needs. One such product is the Aiken Antibacterial Shower Crème Extra Protection, a gentle yet effective remedy that eliminates 99.9% of harmful bacteria from the skin. Infused with antibacterial extracts of rosemary, bergamot and ginseng, the concoction deeply cleanses and purifies skin from excess sebum and impurities, and is safe and gentle even for children.