How to Be a Hygiene Role Model for Your Child
Your child spends most of their formative years with you, which means you influence most of what they know about the world. Simply put, you are your child's greatest inspiration. Your attitude towards hygiene and other spheres of life will undoubtedly impact their choices.
As hand hygiene increasingly becomes more important in everyday life, parents need to set the right example for their children. If you're wondering how to go about instilling healthy hand hygiene habits in your children, here are a few tips you might find useful:
If you think it's too early to start teaching your kids about the importance of hygiene, think again. Children are quite impressionable and are more likely to carry a habit into adulthood if it's always been a part of their lives. If your children are particularly young, take baby steps. The most you can do when they can't speak or walk is show them you enjoy the act of washing your hands.
Lead by Example
The "do as I say, not as I do" model of parenting won't get you very far. The best way to show your children the importance of hand hygiene is by practicing it as often as you can. Don't just wash or sanitise your hands after using the bathroom or before you handle food. Do it whenever you put your hands on a frequently touched surface. After some time, your children will notice the pattern and follow suit.
Make Room for Error
Children make mistakes. Maybe they'll forget to wash their hands, or they won't go about it as thoroughly as they should. When this happens, first tell them what they did correctly, before pointing out where they went wrong. Cheering them on will get you better results than focusing on which part of the hand washing technique they got wrong.
When it comes to being a good hygiene role model, there are no days off. Whatever rules you've set for hand washing must be followed every day. And on the few occasions when you do forget to wash your hands, admit that you made a mistake and will try your best not to repeat it.
Make it Fun
There are plenty of ways to make hand washing more than just a mundane task. You could use your scented soaps with a pleasant fragrance or sing a song while you do the job. You could also turn into a game by putting glitter on their hands to represent illness-causing germs, then turn the act of hand washing into a mission to remove the superbugs with a soap bar.
When you realise how many germs lurk inside and outside your home, hand hygiene becomes all the more critical. The sooner you teach your children how to wash their hands properly, the better.
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