When you have a child, it can be difficult to teach them how to care for their bodies. They might not understand which things are most important, and they definitely need to be taught the steps of taking care of themselves. This can be even more difficult if your child is not neurotypical in some way. In fact, things like late potty training are some of the first signs of a child being non-neurotypical. Don’t despair! There are many great ways to teach your kid to take care of their personal hygiene.
Stick to a Schedule
You especially want good hygiene habits during a pandemic! Washing hands, for instance, after using the bathroom, is critical to good health. Having a schedule for mornings and evenings can help your child know what order things need to be done. Pictures help with this. According to ADDitude, you should set up routines with pictures in order, which might, as an example, have the lines of “potty, wipe, wash hands, dry,” or “pajamas, vitamins, brush teeth, storytime!” Visualizing what comes next helps children learn.
According toShowtime Smiles Pediatric Dentist, you can start healthy oral habits by bringing a child to the dentist when their first tooth erupts. Little people are notorious for not liking to brush their teeth, especially if they are neurologically different. If it’s particularly difficult in your family, try different flavors of toothpaste! Just like adults, children prefer different flavors. There are soft silicone finger brushes available to use as well.
Don’t Give Up
Small people love to push boundaries, and attempting to shove yours aside will absolutely be one of their favorite games, especially when you are tired. No parent is perfect at holding that line, but according to the Child Mind Institute, holding it with hygiene is particularly important. Remember, washing hands, for example, protects your child from not just spreading feces germs around, but also germs like coronavirus as well. Both bacteria and viruses sneak into homes from hands, so emphasize it’s important to your child, even if they’re reluctant and habitually forget.
Figuring out how to set up routines for hygiene as a parent is a difficult thing, but you can do it. Remember that your child will not be perfect at this, and will need reminders. If one thing doesn’t work to practice, try another. Practicing washing sticky fingers and teeth is a normal bit of childhood, but don’t give up!