Why it’s Extremely Important to Teach your Children the Basics of Personal Care

Good habits are important to instill in our kids. But sometimes those habits aren't so easy to instill and are met with some resistance. Here are some useful ideas from a reader on how to teach your young children important habits.

Life skills are all part of your children’s essential learning. They form the foundation of their understanding of the world and help them discover good, healthy choices.

Like many things, personal care starts at home. From teaching your little one to brush their teeth to exploring nature as a family, there’s a lot you can do to ensure your child’s wellbeing. Forming good hygiene practices in their early years will have a positive effect on their growth and development.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few simple tips to help you on your journey:

1. Sing “Happy Birthday” as you wash your hands

Now more than ever, washing our hands is incredibly important. It’s our best defence against germs and viruses, and all it costs us is 20 seconds of our lives. That’s one complete “Happy Birthday” song!

Twenty seconds to my little girl feels like a lifetime. When the COVID pandemic first started, she truly believed that a squidge of soap and a splash of water was enough. Suffice to say, it was evident that I had not taught her how to wash her hands properly. The absolute basics were there, but her technique was shocking!

Information is power. So open up the conversation with your child. You can talk about why we wash our hands and how dirt and germs can make us sick. Soap has this incredible ability to cling on to all the nasties on our hands before we wash it all away with water. Worth knowing, don’t you think?

If you need extra inspiration, there have been a collection of viral videos online from medical staff and teachers alike that show what happens when we don’t wash our hands properly.

2. Laundry - it’s a family affair

Getting your children involved in the laundry may at first sounds like a nightmare. Until they see it for themselves, they may struggle to realise why washing our clothes is so important!

How to get your children involved:
  • Put a laundry basket in their room - for younger children, a sticker reward chart will encourage them to put dirty clothes in the basket!
  • Separate light and dark clothing
  • Get them to load the washing machine
  • Ask them to help you put the washing on the line/fold clothes
  • Put their clothes away

Not only are you teaching your children the hygiene basics, but they are also actively participating in a routine!

3. Bathtime, fun time

Babies, toddlers and younger children love a good bath. It’s a place where their imagination can run wild, where they can get lost in the sensory bubbles and ultimately get clean!

Making bathtime fun is the key to building your child’s confidence and self-esteem in the long run. Dirt and grime have more of an impact on your little one’s mental health and wellbeing than you might realise. So build bathtime into your child’s routine in their early years.

Things to try:

Get involved in play - from becoming a pirate to making gentle ripples in the water, the world’s your oyster
Tell a story - a perfect bonding tool and avenue into unlocking your little one’s imagination
Encourage them to wash - handing a sponge or soft cloth to your child will encourage independence and boost confidence!
Bubble hats - making different shapes with the bubbles and forming bubble hats will bring out all the smiles and keep hair clean

Whatever bathtime looks like with your family, make sure it’s fun!

4. Teeth, gums and stinky breath

Our mouths form so much of our experiences. They allow us to speak, breath and eat. Keeping our teeth and gums clean is the basis of good oral hygiene.

When food debris is left alone, plaque and acidic bacteria start to grow in our mouths. Brushing our teeth for two minutes a day, twice a day minimises the risk of tooth pain and decay.

Even babies need to keep their gums in check! As soon as milk enters their mouths, sugars are left to swill around their gums. Using a soft, damp cloth or a dental wipe will gently remove unwanted bacteria from settling into the foundation for their milk teeth to grow. As soon as your little one’s first tooth appears, you can introduce a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Building a toothbrushing routine into your child’s day will ensure good oral hygiene in the future. Need extra inspiration? Give some of these a go:
  • Storytime - spark your child’s imagination with a toothbrush related tale. Either make one up where their toothbrush is the hero or get some of their favourite characters involved. Hey Duggee, Peppa Pig and Biff and Chip all have songs and books available.
  • Bathtime - brushing teeth in the bath will reinforce the routine you are building with your little one
  • Timers - 2 minutes is the optimum brushing time
  • Song & dance - catchy and fun, choose your babe’s favourite song to brush along to!
With extra resources like videos and storybooks, teaching your children the basics of toothbrushing has never been easier.

5. The importance of self-care

For most of us, even in adulthood, our self-esteem is rooted in our confidence. It stems from how we feel about ourselves, how we look and how we interact with others. Having time for self-care is as vital for your child, as it is for you.

Encouraging your children to get outside, breathe in fresh air and get their hearts pumping will boost their mental wellbeing.

Spending time reconnecting with their loved ones, talking about their day and unloading any of their worries will significantly help your child. So build time into your day where you can sit down with your child. It might just be that you watch a film together snuggled up on the sofa, play a board game or simply have a conversation.

Allowing your child to feel confident in their own skin and their surroundings will futureproof their wellbeing in the long run.

Personal care is fundamental to your child’s confidence, self-esteem and wellbeing. Are you up for the challenge?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal

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