Hygiene might currently seem boring and like a chore for your toddler, but it is imperative that we teach them about hygiene and how they can keep themselves healthy.
Here are some fun ways that you can make hygiene more exciting and help your toddler understand the science behind keeping clean.
Basic Toddler Hygiene: What Should Your Toddler Learn?
Whether your toddler is at home or nursery, eating, playing outside or helping in the kitchen, they should maintain good hygiene. As a very general overview, it is important to teach your toddler about the following hygiene skills so that they stay clean and healthy when carrying out day to day activities:
- Washing your hands
- Brushing your teeth twice a day
- Washing in the bath or shower regularly
- Toilet hygiene
- Blowing your nose after sneezing
- Covering your mouth when coughing
Mastering these important hygiene skills at an early age will not only help your toddler avoid bugs and infections but encourage good long-term hygiene habits.
Here are some helpful ways you can make learning about hygiene fun.
1. Teaching your child about germs with glitter
This activity will help your child understand why we need good hygiene before we delve into instilling good hygiene practices. By introducing the concept of germs and bacteria early on, your toddler is more likely to keep good hygiene practices.
All you need to do is wet your child’s hands, and sprinkle some glitter onto them. Have your child rub them together so that the glitter sticks.
Now it’s time to show them how quickly germs spread! Shake hands and have them touch surfaces. Encourage them to look at how quickly the glitter has transferred to different surfaces.
Then, have your child try and use water to get the ‘germs’ off. They’ll find that not all the glitter will come off, so instead suggest using hand soap. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children should wash their hands with warm soapy water for at least 30 seconds to get rid of germs. This should demonstrate that in a fun way, as a quick rinse under the tap won’t get rid of all the glitter.
It’s important to tell your child that although they can’t see real germs, they still stick to your hands and can spread easily, which is why we wash our hands.
2. Brushing teeth with their toys
Role-playing is a very engaging way to teach children about hygiene, and they’ll love including their favourite toys too.
It is probably wise to avoid using plush toys, however, anything non-electric should work fine.
In the morning or evening (when your child would usually brush their teeth), encourage them to bring their favourite toy with them to the bathroom sink. Then, ask your child to brush their toy’s teeth! You’ll find that they’ll be much more excited about doing this than their own teeth, so once they’ve finished, let them know it’s their turn.
3. Learning why we should cover coughs and sneezes using mirrors
Have your little one stand in front of a mirror, or even use a window. Ask them to breathe (or cough, if you have cleaning supplies at the ready) onto the mirror, and point out the condensation from their breath.
Explain that when we cough or sneeze, our breath lands on surfaces and takes germs with it.
Ask them to cough or breathe in front of the mirror, but instead, have them hold a tissue in front of their mouth. They’ll notice that there is no condensation now.
This will show them the importance of using a tissue or covering their mouth next time they cough or sneeze. When your toddler uses this good hygiene skill in practice, praise them so that they remember to do it again next time.
4. Make Bath Time, Fun Time!
Bath time is usually a fun experience for your child as they get to splash around in the water. However, it is an opportunity to also teach your child that bath time is not just for playing, but for washing too.
A fun way to do this could be to use body paint. Before your child gets in the bath, paint a few dots of skin-friendly body paint onto random spots on their body, covering areas such as their armpits, feet, belly button or other places they might usually miss. Explain that this represents the ‘dirt and germs’.
Then, your child can practice washing themselves thoroughly using a washcloth and soap. By making sure they clean off the body paint, they’ll get used to washing all over their body. It will also be a fun challenge for them to try and get rid of all the spots!
Toddler Hygiene at Little Angels
Not only is hygiene crucial in a nursery setting, but we know the importance of teaching your child the correct hygiene skills. Learn more about hygiene at Little Angels here.