A Guide to Hygiene for Kids
Personal hygiene involves keeping the body clean. Cleanliness includes the skin, hair, and mouth. When children are very small, parents perform personal hygiene tasks for them. Gradually, as they get older, you will teach your kids about proper hygiene so they can begin assuming these tasks independently. Skills including handwashing, brushing teeth, and bathing or showering are important for youngsters to learn. Eventually, as children get older, the onset of puberty necessitates some changes in personal hygiene to remain clean and fresh-smelling.
With daily activities, germs will accumulate on the skin. These germs can cause disease if allowed to remain on the skin and multiply because they can enter the body through openings such as the mouth, eyes, and nose. For this reason, everyone must learn about proper hygiene to stay clean and kill germs. Touching the eyes or mouth with dirty hands is a common way for people to infect themselves with potentially harmful germs.
Washing your hands is one of the main defenses against germs because germs often accumulate on fingers as people touch various surfaces and objects. Teach children proper handwashing techniques to ensure that they kill germs effectively. To wash the hands correctly, use warm water and enough soap to produce a rich lather. Work the lather around all surfaces of the hands for at least 20 seconds. This includes between fingers and beneath the fingernails. Some people teach their children to sing a short song while they wash their hands to ensure that they lather for the required time. After working the lather in, rinse the hands well to remove all of the soap. Dry the hands with a clean towel to finish the process.
Adults often prefer to bathe or shower daily to feel fresh and clean. It’s typical to transfer this bathing regimen to children as well; however, kids may not necessarily need to bathe this frequently. Between the ages of 6 and 11, kids should bathe at least one or two times each week. More frequent bathing is fine if kids get dirty during play or when eating. When kids reach puberty, they usually prefer to bathe once a day. Adolescents should also wash their faces two times each day to combat typical oiliness.
By the time children are about 3 years old, many of them are able to wash their hands with a little parental supervision. Children this age are beginning to develop teeth-brushing skills also. To ensure that children adopt independent personal hygiene habits such as washing hands, parents should model frequent handwashing and reinforce desired behavior with praise when children display it. By the time children reach the early elementary grades, they are usually ready to begin learning independent bathing skills. This process takes time and supervision to teach, however. Generally, a parent should remain involved with baths or showers to teach the child how to perform each step. A girl with long hair will probably continue to need assistance to lather and rinse the hair effectively. At some point in the middle or late elementary years, many kids will gain complete bathing independence. They will usually alert parents that they can handle a shower or bath without assistance.
With the onset of puberty, personal hygiene needs and practices will change. Hair often becomes oily faster, making it necessary to wash it every day or every other day. Daily washing of the skin will be necessary, especially in areas where sweat glands produce perspiration. Left unwashed, these areas can become soiled and odorous. When sweat glands begin producing body odor, kids will often be ready to begin using deodorant and antiperspirant to combat odors. Parents should teach kids how to use these products safely, reading the directions together so kids know how to apply them. When girls reach menarche and begin menstruating, they will need instruction for daily washing and how to change sanitary napkins in a hygienic manner.
Learn more about hygiene for kids by visiting the following resources:
- Why Is Handwashing so Important?
- Personal Hygiene
- Hand Washing and Good Hygiene for Kids (PDF)
- Teaching Your Child About Germs
- Protecting Your Child From Infections
- Personal Hygiene (PDF)
- Premature Adrenarche: A Guide for Families (PDF)
- The Onset of Puberty
- Taking Good Care of Ourselves: Personal Hygiene (PDF)
- Hygiene of the Skin: When Is Clean Too Clean? (PDF)
- Hygiene Tip Sheet (PDF)
- Encouraging Healthy Habits in Your School-Aged Child (PDF)
- How Often Do Children Need to Take a Bath
- How Often Should You Bathe Your Child?
- Teaching Your Child to Become Independent with Daily Routines (PDF)
- Ways to Encourage Self-Help Skills in Children
- Bradenton Periodontists
- Orthodontists in Bradenton
- Cosmetic Dentists: Bradenton