Kids are naturally curious and social little people, and this combination can make them a natural target for germs and bacteria. While getting grimy during play is often unavoidable, kids need to learn basic health lessons as part of the growing up process. By teaching your kids the fundamentals of health and hygiene, you can make the world a little bit safer for your children as they grow.
Tooth brushing is one of the basic lessons that can begin when the first teeth are cut. While infants and toddlers should avoid toothpaste, mom and dad can make good oral hygiene a lifetime habit first by brushing the infant and toddler’s teeth both morning and night and later by instructing the kids on how to brush by themselves.
Kids learn quickest when they learn by example, and hand cleaning is one of the most important health lessons. Once your kids are old enough to wash their own hands, make a point that they are to always wash before meals, after using the bathroom and after playing outside, with other children and when they come into contact with animals. In addition, it’s a good idea to teach your kids how to properly use hand sanitizer to avoid the spreading of germs when there are no washing facilities available.
Kids put things in their mouths as a way to explore, and they need to learn that this can both spread germs and be a choking hazard. In addition, teach your kids that they should wash their fruit before eating and to never eat food that has fallen to the floor, has been left out without refrigeration or has been given to them by a person they don’t know.
Sharing is good, but there are things besides toys that can be shared during play. Teach your kids to never share hair brushes, combs and hats as these items can promote the spread of head lice. In addition, kids need to learn that while it’s OK to share food, the food should be cut in half with a knife rather than taking turns with another child in biting the piece of food. Likewise, cups and glasses should never be shared, but they should be used exclusively by each person.
Children are notorious for spreading germs, and they need specific lessons on how to wipe and blow their nose properly as well as coughing and sneezing into a tissue or the crook of their arm rather than into their hands or the air.
Food is a lifelong need, and it’s important to teach good eating habits as soon as your kids begin eating solid food. While many children go through stages where they seem to be pickier in what they eat, they need ongoing instruction on how to choose nutritious food and why it’s better for them than fast food, sweets and empty calorie foods, such as sugar-free drinks.