10 Keys to Good Hygiene Habits at Home With Children

Instilling good hygiene habits in children from an early age helps them develop and maintain a routine at home.
10 Keys to Good Hygiene Habits at Home With Children

Last update: 11 February, 2022

Acquiring good hygiene habits at home with children is important for their wellbeing and health. For this reason, it’s essential to transmit to children the importance of putting them into practice.

It takes about 21 days to establish a habit, and it can contribute to reducing medical consultations by preventing the development of certain diseases in children.

Good hygiene habits at home with children

Inculcating good hygiene habits at an early age is essential, as they’re not aware of how essential it is to respect a proper hygiene and care routine.

1. Handwashing

Ideally, children should get used to washing their hands frequently. During the course of the day, children are exposed to viruses and bacteria and can quickly become infected by rubbing their eyes, putting their fingers in their mouths, or touching their noses.

According to a Unicef study, one in 10 children isn’t trained to wash their hands properly. Hands should be washed before eating, after going to the bathroom, after touching an animal, after coughing and sneezing, and after coming in from outside.

2. Teach the use of wet toilet paper

This type of toilet paper offers the same advantages as wet wipes and disintegrates easily in the toilet, like traditional toilet paper.

As it is made of biodegradable and 100% natural fibers and it can be flushed down the toilet, unlike wet wipes. In addition, it offers a more effective cleaning. However, its content of additives can develop dermatitis.

3. Toothbrushing 3 times a day

In children, teeth should be cleaned as soon as they erupt. If you start teaching this habit early, the child will get used to it more quickly.

The way you brush your teeth is as important as the time you spend on it. In fact, the tongue should also be brushed gently to avoid bad odors in the mouth.

4. Changing underwear every day

Generating the habit of changing underwear on a daily basis is an essential routine to avoid infectious diseases. Therefore, children need to renew their underwear every day.

It’s important to instill in them the habit of cleanliness so that they’re the ones who choose their clothes, bathe, and change independently and naturally.

5. Regular baths

Children require regular showers or baths. This can be achieved by encouraging bathing at the end of the day as part of a bedtime routine.

Make sure to wash the entire body, including the anal and genital areas, underarms, and dry the body properly and thoroughly before dressing.

6. Have their own personal grooming items

Getting children used to having a personal care and grooming routine requires certain techniques so that they’re attracted to it.

They should have their own items, such as toothpaste and toothbrush, comb, towels, soap, and hair care products. Consequently, this gives them more responsibility for their own items and habits.

7. Foot cleaning

When bacteria meet with sweat, bad odor is generated, either on the feet or in the armpits. Consequently, if the child wears shoes all day long, dirt and bacteria will accumulate on the feet.

It’s important to make sure that the feet are properly cleaned when bathing, between the toes, on the soles, and under the nails.

8. Ear hygiene

To clean children’s ears, the best time to do it is during the bath or shower. It’s a good practice to use a cloth to clean the wax that has come out of the ear canal.

Swabs or tiny elements shouldn’t be introduced into the ears. In fact, children tend to imitate everything adults do; therefore, no inappropriate practice should be done in front of them.

9. Coughing and sneezing

Germs are everywhere and have the ability to travel through the air. Studies published by the University of Cambridge show that coughing and sneezing can travel up to 200 times farther than previously thought.

Therefore, teaching children to get used to covering their nose and mouth with a tissue or in the crook of their arm is recommended.

10. Nail trimming

Nails are a place where a lot of bacteria and dirt can accumulate, not only in children but also in adults.

Germs that settle under the nails can be transferred to the nose, eyes, and mouth. Therefore, using a nail brush and trimming regularly can even reduce the likelihood of ingrown toenails.

Hygiene and children

Encouraging good hygiene habits in children’s care is necessary for their proper development. In fact, learning personal hygiene helps to curb the spread of diseases.

It even stimulates the development of lifelong hygiene habits, an essential parameter of early childhood education and care services.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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  • Bartram J, Cairncross S. Hygiene, sanitation, and water: forgotten foundations of health. PLoS Med. 2010 Nov 9;7(11):e1000367. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000367. PMID: 21085694; PMCID: PMC2976722.
  • Turney K, Lee H, Mehta N. The social determinants of child health. Soc Sci Med. 2013 Oct;95:1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.07.015. Epub 2013 Jul 25. PMID: 23932165.
  • Ozgul BM, Sakaryali D, Senirkentli GB, Tirali RE, Cehreli SB. Do really parents brush their children’s teeth better? Eur J Paediatr Dent. 2019 Dec;20(4):325-329. doi: 10.23804/ejpd.2019.20.04.13. PMID: 31850778.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.