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Putting kids through personal hygiene

Since the news broke about the Italian national, who was infected by coronavirus, the talk on the need for regular handwashing and other personal hygiene etiquettes has taken the front seat.

Unfortunately, while adults could understand reasons to keep clean and measures to embrace to go about this, children from pre-school age upwards may just see all of this as one big joke.

Meanwhile, the home may really be at the greatest risk if kids are not properly carried along in the rule of cleanliness. Why? Very simple. Once a member of the family contacts the virus, the entire family will get infected in a matter of hours, maximum.

So, teaching the basics of proper personal hygiene is important for these kids to keep healthy and clean.

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One of the reasons it is important for these little ones to practice good hygiene—handwashing, in particular, is because they spend so much of their time in close contact with each other in the classroom, sharing everything from desks, to chairs, to crayons, to germs.

If you as a parent will take time out to instil this culture into them at the cradle, when they finally reach adolescence and they begin to experience hormonal changes, they will not have increased oil production which leads to body odour. Then, you’ll be glad you didn’t wait until they have become grown to instil good health and hygiene habits. Health personnel, Mrs Blessing Ibeh, offers some fundamental personal hygiene practices to teach your child.

Hand Washing

Teaching your child how to wash his or her hands is probably the most important health and hygiene habit. Think about all the different objects and surfaces you touch on a daily basis. She said: “Hand washing is, without a doubt, one of the best ways to prevent illnesses and stop germs from spreading.

With younger ones, you may need to remind them from time to time not to splash and dash, or run their hands under the tap for two seconds without soap and call it done.

“Make sure your child uses soap and lathers for at least 15 seconds—with the tap turned off to conserve water before rinsing. A good rule of thumb is to wash your hands for as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.”

Teach them the disadvantage of staying around someone sneezing and coughing.

They need to know that germs travel far and wide, says Ibeh. Even when they are already familiar with the fact that a sneeze travels up to 100 miles per hour and can send 100,000 germs into the air, let them know that  “research shows that sneezes and coughs can actually travel up to 200 times further than originally presumed and where the person is infected with a deadly disease such as the novel Coronavirus, the other person, is seriously endangered,” Ibeh said.

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What then should they do?  Mrs Ibeh advised that parents should get their children into the habit of covering their mouths and noses with a tissue, or into the crook of their arms if they can’t reach a tissue fast enough.

According to the expert, germs are easily transmitted into the body through the mucous membranes in the eyes, the nose, and the mouth. So, from time to time, kids should be reminded not to touch their eyes or pick their nose.

Bath Time

Many parents find that evening baths are the best way to relax a child before bed. Bathing at night can also help ease the morning rush. Some grade-schoolers prefer showers, which can also save a lot of time on a busy school night or morning. Showers can also save water.

Many kids can shower on their own starting around age six. You may want to supervise the shampooing and rinsing till he or she gets the hang of it. And be sure to put down a secure bath mat to prevent any slips on the wet floor when they are done.

Ensure to use Dettol and other disinfectants and sanitizers regularly. Also, see the use of these disinfectants in their schools apart from the home. To get children to use them regularly, experts advised parents to carry kids along and familiarise them with ways to use them.

Above all, children love to copy from what they see others do, so, it is important that parents also practice what they preach for their children to learn. If they do this regularly, soon, children will make it part of their ways of life.