Personal hygiene is an important aspect for everyone and this should be something that you begin to practise from childhood. Good habits that are adopted in childhood often survive into adulthood creating consistent patterns of good behaviour. This improves your well-being.
But how do you get children to learn these habits and improve their personal hygiene? This is an especially important lesson they should learn when they reach puberty. Personal hygiene contributes to better health. And it is all about taking care of your body to prevent infections and other health conditions. With poor hygiene, you will be subjected to bacterial infections, fungal infections, dry skin, rashes, tooth decay, viruses etc. Teaching your child about personal hygiene can take some time so you have to start young. Start when they are toddlers and instil in them the importance of personal hygiene such as bathing, washing hands, brushing teeth etc. Toddlers can get into a lot of mess in a few seconds and they also tend to have a habit of putting their hands in their mouths. What you can do is teach them to wash hands whenever their hands are dirty (this may seem like an impossible task!). But gradually, they will get into this habit which means fewer germs in their bodies.
When your child gets to about 3 or 5 years old, they will be well versed in how to bathe, brush teeth, wash hands etc. so they will be able to do this independently. This may not be perfect but let them try anyway. You can show encouragement when they do this and you can also show ways of how to do these tasks better. You will still have to guide them through this daily routine. But when they reach about 6 years old, you can encourage them to try out their personal hygiene routine on their own without your guidance. It is a great way of fostering their independence and building their confidence. It also shows your trust in their abilities. And it goes without saying that you have to be a good role model from the time they are young. Children often learn from what they see and not necessarily from what you tell them. And when they see you repeat these good hygiene habits, they will become more accustomed to it as well. Setting them a good example goes far in cementing their own good habits.
Continue to talk to them about maintaining good personal hygiene and why it is important. There has to be clear communication between the parent and the child about these topics. You can tell them what happens to their teeth when they are not brushed and how they get infections. You can also create a chart they can tick off when they are still in the stage of learning their routine. Even when your child is independent and they can go through the routine on their own, you can still check in with them to see if these habits are continued.