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Fighting COVID-19: 6 healthy habits to teach your kids

By Dr Atish Laddad
April 10, 2020 09:00 IST
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The optimum way to make kids aware about hygiene is to start from a very early age itself, says Dr Atish Laddad.

Kids should follow simple handwashing rules

IMAGE: Kids need to follow simple handwashing rules like always cleaning hands with a sanitised soap and clean water prior to touching or handling food, toys or any surfaces, rinsing and rubbing hands with soap for a good 20 minutes. Photograph: Courtesy Pixabay.com

Children are most vulnerable to fall prey to unwanted infections and viruses, courtesy their immature body immunity levels.

It is important for parents and guardians to note that with kids, there is an amplified probability of both contracting and spreading infections.

This is particularly true in case of infants and toddlers who are most likely to make use of their hands while rubbing their noses or eyes and then use those infected hands to touch their toys or make contact with other members of the house.

Through these acts, the virus tends to spread to others as well.

There is a great possibility for babies to fall ill in their initial stage of life since their bodies are still trying to build up their resistance to infections.

Teaching the basics of optimum personal hygiene in kids is extremely significant to keep them clean and in the pink of health.

Kids often lack the appropriate knowledge or skills to take charge of their hygiene habits. Hence, parents must supervise and do the needful.

The optimum way to make kids aware about hygiene is to start from a very early age itself, with simple yet effective practices being followed at home. Instilling healthy personal hygiene in younger kids is often a challenge for parents.

Leaf through the below mentioned guidelines which highlight on the significance of personal hygiene for kids and explain the ways by which parents can encourage children to be clean and healthy:

1. Up your child’s hand washing game

Teaching your children how to wash their hands is perhaps the most vital health and hygiene habit.

Considering all the various objects and surfaces children tend to touch every day, washing hands without fail is undoubtedly one of the most exceptional ways to keep illnesses at bay and to avert the spread of germs.

To amplify your handwashing, kids need to follow simple handwashing rules like always cleaning hands with a sanitised soap and clean water prior to touching or handling food, toys or any surfaces, rinsing and rubbing hands with soap for a good 20 minutes.

Children must ensure they have washed their hands carefully so that there are no traces of soap left behind.

They must make use of fresh water to clear the soap totally. Post your child’s handwashing ritual, make sure they are always making use of a clean cloth to wipe their hands and mouth.

2. Sing-Along Song 

Children being the lazy little monsters that they are, just teaching about the importance of handwashing will not give parents the results that they wish to see. Instead parents can make this a fun learning session by making up a handwashing song with your little munchkins.

You can sing as they scrub and rinse. Alter the tune or blend it up with diverse words every time. This can be followed while bathing as well.

3. Make up a game

While kids play, they usually have a bad habit of touching the surface with their fingers and eventually end up touching their faces with those unwashed fingers.

This episode has a great possibility of spreading unwanted germs and infections leading to cold, cough or eye infections.

One way for parents to avoid this is to come up with a challenge to witness who can keep their fingers off their face for the lengthiest duration of time.

Reward your child if he or she is successful in keeping fingers away from touching the face.

4. Anti-germ superheroes

This is a fun and innovative way wherein parents can encourage kids to develop a good hygiene.

Get your kids to make a face and cover their mouths every time they sneeze or cough.

Make them imagine that they are superheroes who are out on an expedition to discontinue germs from spreading.

Let them try the 'Dracula' where-in they cough or sneeze into the crook of their elbow rather than into their hands.

5. Own a colour while munching

When you are making your child understand about food hygiene, you must start with the basics -- discuss with them about the harmful impacts of germs and bacteria.

Tell them how rapidly bacteria can spread from their dirty and unwashed hands to the food and into the mouth or nose.

Parents can take steps to safeguard kid’s food hygiene right at home itself. Make it a rule that every member in the family is making use of their own cups and utensils.

This is an effective way to curb the transmission of infections.

Parents must ask the children to pick a plate, cup and utensil in their most preferred shade, and ensure this remains their permanent colour while eating.

6. Fun while flossing and brushing

Parents usually complain about children evading from maintaining good oral hygiene.

Fret not, make your child’s oral routine fun with some innovating techniques. Make use of egg cartons to create a giant tooth model and paint it in the colour of your enamels.

By putting play-dough chunks in between each tooth allow your kids to experiment their flossing and brushing skills. Ensure you are getting your child into the habit of flossing and brushing their teeth, brushing their tongues, the insides of the cheeks and the upper portion of the mouth.

Dental hygiene is extremely important because an unclean mouth can lead to bad odour and can further lead to cavities, which can be evaded when kids follow good dental cleanliness.

Ensure your little munchkin is brushing his or her teeth twice daily, and is cleaning even the nooks and corners of the mouth properly. They must rinse their mouths with water post eating meals and simple measures like gargling can also be very effective in keeping germs at bay.

Training your kid’s good hygiene habits from a very young age is remarkably vital in your child's overall growth and development.

To make sure that kids adopt independent personal hygiene habits, parents must lead by being an example since the child emulates a parent’s behaviour patterns.

Through a little more focused effort on our side, we can surely keep our kids restored and completely immune to infection.


Dr Atish Laddad is founder and director at Docterz, a child healthcare app. He can be contacted on ga@rediff.co.in.


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