Dental Blog

Good Hygiene 101: 6 Ways to Teach Young Kids

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

To keep your kids healthy for many school years to come, it’s important to set them up with smart, healthy habits while they’re young. Here are great tricks to help them master hand washing, sneezing, tooth brushing, and more core skills.

1.) Show and tell. Many young children are visual learners, so make sure you personally demonstrate healthy routines you want them to learn. Participate as often as you can.

2.) Use books and stories. Make sure kids know why good hygiene is important. There are many storybooks and online activities that can teach kids about germs and bacteria, and how washing hands, bathing and brushing can keep them healthy. There are even smartphone apps to help teach about hygiene and track their efforts.

3.) Positive reinforcement. Keep a chart and reward your kids with star stickers every time they properly demonstrate good hygiene. Incentivize them further by offering a reward when they collect a certain number of stickers.

4.) Make it a song. It is recommended that hand washing should last at least 20 seconds. Many people find that teaching their kids to wash their hands while singing “Happy Birthday” twice works well. Tooth brushing should last at least 2 minutes. Find a song that’s this length to play while your kids are brushing, or use a bathroom timer.

5.) Make it fun. There are a lot of ways you can make hygiene fun for kids. Buy them soaps, toothpaste and toothbrushes with their favorite character or fragrance. Try fun activities like making horn noses while blowing their nose, doing dances while brushing or hand washing, and using shampoo to create wacky hairdos.

6.) Stick to routines. Kids thrive on routines. By setting strict morning, nighttime and bath time routines, good hygiene will eventually become an automatic response.

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