The other day I smelled something slightly foul. Following my nose, I quickly discovered the source of the scent: my daughter’s socks….that were still on her feet, happily perched on our ottoman. It was time for me to get her new shoes or, at the very least, de-stink her other shoes. This reminded me of the importance of hygiene for kids. After all, we often think about teaching teens about personal hygiene. However, it’s necessary to establish proper grooming habits early. Here are some tips to help your kids establish good personal hygiene.
Hand washing is a top priority on my list. I’m always bugging my kids to wash their hands after going to the bathroom and before they eat. As for bathing, it’s important to teach kids that they don’t need to lather themselves up from head to toe….at least not every day. This can lead to dry skin. However, I do tell my kids to wash their private areas (and stinky feet). And when they hit puberty, you want to remind them to wash under their armpits. With younger kids, I opt for a gentle, tear-free shampoo and body wash. This way, they can wash up themselves, without the tears.
As a former sixth grade teacher, I can say it is not a good thing to be in a room full of tweens who haven’t been taught about the joys of deodorant. I’m not a fan of the deodorants with a bunch of ingredients I can’t pronounce. Thus, I stick to the natural deodorants like Tom’s of Maine or the crystal varieties. Trust me, you’ll know when the time is right to introduce deodorant to your child.
Yes, kids need to brush their teeth. Yet, often times, parents forget about flossing. When kids are learning to floss, it is definitely an activity that needs to be monitored. My five-year-old has a tendency to floss too aggressively. This can easily damage a child’s gums. Yet, flossing is important. 1800dentist.com recommends, “teaching your child to floss when they are 2 or 3 years old,” with supervision. They recommend using a piece of floss “18 inches long,” showing kids how to wrap it around their fingers and gently flossing between their teeth and along the sides of their teeth. This can be tedious. Instead, you might want to try flossers for kids. I found some cool kid flossers. They come in fun colors and don’t have a sharp point at the end like some of the adult versions do. My kids love picking out a color and flossing. I find it’s so much easier for them.
Clean Your Ears
A little ear wax isn’t bad. In fact, it helps protect your ear canal. At the same time, visible ear wax can look unsightly. Thus, Dr. Sears recommends gently removing “visible wax from the outside of the ear canal” with your finger or a cotton swab. I always use the safety swabs made for kids. In addition, this is something I plan on doing for my kids until they get older. After all, I’ll never forget the story of one of my childhood friends who stuck a cotton swab in too far and ruptured her ear drum. Overall, like flossing, it’s important to teach kids how to clean their ears in a gentle manner. In a situation where your child has ear wax blockage, it’s best to take them to see a doctor.
Use a Tissue
Using a tissue is a great way to help kids be more hygienic. Often times, children sneeze into their hands and then go around and touch a bunch of things. Teach kids to use a tissue and throw it away. Then, they should wash their hands. I give my daughter a small tissue pack to take with her to school.
Having good hygiene will help your kids be healthier, cleaner and, of course, not be embarrassed because they smell!
More from Melissa:
Kids and Manners: It’s a Lost Art
Teaching Young Kids the Art of Being Tactful
4 Reasons to Stop Nagging Your Kids