If you are a parent of a toddler, then you know that it is important to teach them good hygiene at an early age. Yet, the struggle can seem like it’s never-ending to get your little one to practice what they know is right. Here are some tips to help you teach and reinforce good hygiene in your toddlers.
Play a Game
Toddlers learn by playing, so make using good hygiene a game. Sing “Happy Birthday” twice while washing hands to prevent germs from seeing their next birthday. There are apps that you can download to make teeth brushing fun. Alternatively, cheer for each tooth after it is brushed. Playing a game often rewards the child until practicing good hygiene becomes ingrained in their brains. Give yourself permission to go ahead and get silly with your toddler, as modeling is also important.
Using a reward chart is a great way to encourage healthy habits. If your goal is to potty train your child in one week, you need to set smaller goals with your child to make it. For example, you may want to give the child a small clap each time that they go potty. There are even children’s potties that will sing a song when the child is successful. You may also want to give a larger reward for each successful day. Start withdrawing the reward as the learned behavior becomes established, or the toddler may not do it when you do not offer a reward.
Make the Bathroom Fun
Oftentimes, the bathroom is a clinical and boring place for kids. In truth, many children dislike the potty training process because they have anxiety about having to stop their playtime to go to the bathroom. Fortunately, you can make this particular room of the house more appealing for the kids in your life. Start by adding more visual elements into the room. You can use paint, different shapes, and even favorite cartoon characters to make the room more lively. In terms of functional elements, a kid-sized vanity will improve accessibility so your child will be able to see themselves in the mirror, reach their hands in the sink, and easily brush their teeth.
Storytime can be a great way to teach children the importance of sneezing and coughing into their elbows. Start by laminating a face with the mouth open. Then, attach the face to a spray bottle filled with water. Make sure that the mouth aligns to the sprayer on the bottle. Then, tell a story about the person whose face is attached to the bottle. Squeeze the handle as you talk about how the person fails to sneeze into their elbow as the water, pretend germs, rains down on them. Finally, have the face sneeze into your elbow so that no water escapes.
Toddlers learn by playing. Using songs, apps, and stories is a great way to encourage good hygiene. You may also want to use rewards to reinforce the lessons. When you make it fun, then the child will want to do the right thing. Teaching good hygiene at an early age may help to cut down on the number of cold and flu episodes in your home.