So, it’s your turn to teach personal hygiene to an elementary student, and you are wondering: “Where do I start?”
Naturally, teaching elementary kids stuff can be daunting, need I say more about teaching them personal hygiene.
Calm down. Shove off that anxiety.
I’m here to give you the best tips you’d ever find─online or offline!
Sounds like a soothsayer?
Okay, let’s now examine all that is involved in teaching personal hygiene to elementary students below.
- What’s Involved in Teaching Personal Hygiene to Elementary Students
- Creative Ways to Teach Personal Hygiene Lessons to Elementary Students
- Importance of Personal Hygiene For Children
- Social Significance of Personal hygiene for a Young Child
- Special Considerations for Your Kids
- Body Hygiene for Kids: Caring for Children’s Skin
- Good Hygiene for Kids: Preventing Itching in a Child
- Final Thoughts
What’s Involved in Teaching Personal Hygiene to Elementary Students
1. Clarify the Difference Between Habits
No matter how little kids are, they already know a little bit of what’s right and wrong.
They know a few habits that are acceptable and not acceptable. Hence, as a parent or teacher, capitalize on this knowledge.
Sit them down and list out what’s recognized as bad and good hygiene habits.
Then, highlight and differentiate healthy habits from unhealthy ones.
You might even want to create a tabular form for this.
Your next work is to let them recite these points many times.
Recitation can happen in the car when they step into the bath or in any place they love to have fun.
When they practice these teachings on personal hygiene, praise them. That will even help them recall better.
2. Don’t Overwhelm them
The desire to teach kids personal hygiene might make you give more than they can take.
Thus, please resist the urge to teach them everything at once. Start with the basics.
What are these basics? Hand washing and bathing.
Hand washing, for example, is nearly vital as we wrestle covid-19 pandemic.
It is something they must learn as you even prepare them for school resumption
You can even get cheap benefits that come with regular hand washing.
Take out soap and water, play their favorite song, and teach how that’s done.
When it comes to bathing, make it as fun as possible.
Pay attention to the dirt from the water used for bathing.
When they see it, they’ll always be willing to take off dirt from their body.
If you’ve sealed that, you can build more healthy habits.
3. Utilize the Right Tools
Children and preschoolers enjoy teachings that come with demonstrations.
For that reason, it is the best way to teach them with the right tools.
Using that method to teach them personal hygiene is an incredible move.
To do that, you would need the right resources. If you want to let your child use soap for bathing, then there must be soap available in the toilet.
If you want them to be accustomed to washing their hands, you should have soap available in the dispenser.
Your children are better able to wash their hands and bathe if the resources to use are available.
4. Creatively Explain the Concepts of Bacteria and Germs
Teaching personal hygiene to elementary students from the early stage enriches their understanding of these concepts.
At the early stage, let them know what germs and bacteria are.
Explain to them how one can catch bacteria and germs and the consequences if they fail to wash them off immediately.
Kids often do something only when they have a good reason to.
While doing this, never forget to highlight the importance of hygiene.
However, never exaggerate that they develop intense fear.
5. Discuss Nice and Foul Smell
Our noses have a fantastic ability to identify a vast range of smells.
And it is the function of our instinct to determine which smell is harmful and which one is right.
Instinctively, children are aware when a smell is terrible. But they might have difficulty labeling it bad.
At that stage, you must learn the difference that exists between good and bad smells.
Then, explain to them that they should build good hygiene habits to keep both awful and bad odors off.
6. Discuss Grooming
It’s not out of place for badly or poorly dressed kids to be bullied or even teased.
You can avoid this when they wear clean clothes, smell nice, and stay neat both at school and home.
Speak to them about the varying grooming activities that exist. This includes wearing clean and pressed clothes.
It involves combing hair, polishing shoes, and keeping both lunch and school bags clean.
Practice this with them. Let them stay with you as you watch.
Before washing, let them smell the bag, then after washing, ask them to smell too.
Now, allow them to compare by asking which one gives them the best feeling. The answer is obvious.
As a result, they know the bag is dirty and needs to be washed when the soothing smell changes.
7. Be Fun As You Teach
Every child finds it easier to remember something when it’s fun and makes them happy.
They are always willing to return to that task.
Desist from teaching personal hygiene to elementary students like a dreadful subject. Make it as fun as possible.
Incorporate games and many other ways that will be fun for them.
8. Be a Model
A little girl inserted her hand inside the basin that her mum was using for washing clothes.
The woman was trying to send her off, but we resisted it. This incident validates the claim that kids follow your action more than what you say.
Therefore, you must be a model. When you both clean the garbage, please wash your hands in his presence and let her do the same.
When it comes to doing anything that relates to hygiene, let them do it together with you.
Now, let’s speak about some creative ways to teach these personal hygiene lessons to kids.
Creative Ways to Teach Personal Hygiene Lessons to Elementary Students
1. Cartoon Flipbooks
For generations, cartoon flipbooks have been with us. You can create pieces of cartoon and then make it come to life in a sticky pad.
You can make fair use of the back of a business card, sticky pads, or even any other small note pads.
Offer students a topic and let them animate it on the pad of their choice.
2. Sticky Note
These are printable templates. There are easy and simple instructions that are added in it.
These activities are enjoyable for students.
3. Personal Hygiene Flip Book
These flipbooks include personal hygiene lessons.
Lessons include body odor, keeping belongings clean and tidy, and oral hygiene.
If you aren’t careful, you can play these games for hours with kids. It can be with your kids or in the classroom.
If you are an adult, you will enjoy this animation because it will make you feel like a kid again.
4. Germ Transfer Game
This is a fun game that teaches kids how germs get transferred from person to person.
This game requires washable paint. Apply the paint to your hands without the kids looking at you.
Then, pretend to sneeze. After that, start touching the card with your hand, spreading the paint.
Then, ask them to touch those areas you’ve touched with paints.
After the exercise, tell your child: “Count the number of locations that germs have been spread to.
Additionally, highlight that by touching those areas, they have got germs from you.
So, ask them, what’s next? Washing of hands!
This is because you didn’t wash your hands after you sneezed.
5. Glitter Hands
This is another fantastic game that allows kids to be a little dirty.
According to the CDC, kids must scrub their hands for at least 20 seconds so that germs would fade away.
To get that done, dispense some glitter into their hands.
Then, ask them to wash their hands with soap under running water.
Glitter naturally is sticky and will not go off with a fast rinse under the tap.
The lesson? Like glitter, germs won’t leave the hand within a few seconds.
And a single rinse isn’t sufficient.
6. Good Habit, Bad Habit
This is a fun trivia game that can be played with kids anywhere, anytime.
List out activities that should be identified as bad, and those that must be identified as acceptable.
Continually include your child’s habits and remind them what should be done and what shouldn’t be done.
Interestingly, praise them or give them a treat when they apply these principles.
7. Hygiene Charades
If you know charades, you’ll believe that they are fun.
Play charades with family where you can enact both right or wrong hygiene practices.
The game allows for fun learning about hygiene and lets them remember each lesson.
8. Personal Hygiene Worksheets
You can check online for personal hygiene worksheets.
These are perfect for teaching children. Pick the ones that perfectly match your condition.
You can even use them as checklists after learning to use them.
10 Free Posters
Design posters with hygiene reminders that will be made available in the restrooms, office, classrooms, and hallways.
Give students subtle reminders that retain personal hygiene in their daily thoughts.
11. Video Tips
Everyone loves watching movies. Imagine if this whole article was a movie. You’d have preferred it, right?
So, please take advantage of the natural desire kids have for videos to teach them personal hygiene.
There are lots of video ideas on personal hygiene that you can teach your children.
You can find videos in these categories:
- Bathing Daily
- Using soap to get rid of bacteria
- Washing of hands after using the restrooms, after touching surfaces, and before eating.
- Deodorant usage
- Wearing clean clothes
- Never go to bed dirty or sweaty
- Washing of bed sheets
- Brushing and floss teeth
- Trimming fingernails and toenails
Your kids will love videos in these categories.
12. Hygiene Board Game
These board games can be used with small groups. Students can learn and laugh without feeling isolated.
Two to four players can play it. There are dice included and printable game pieces.
As an instructor or parent, you would use dice included and then printable game pieces.
If you can’t afford this, you might recycle game pieces from an old board game.
There are scenario cards that come with hygiene tips that can be utilized to keep students laughing as they learn.
13. Cootie Catchers
In some regions, these are identified as fortune-tellers. It will keep students glued for a long time.
You will enjoy using this piece for students that finished their work very early.
You can find free cootie catcher templates on the internet and have some students write them.
These are tested and trusted approaches to introduce personal hygiene to elementary students.
Of course, it might still seem daunting, but you will be thrilled at the results that will come your way when you start it out.
You would even be pleased to share experiences with other teachers. And if you are a parent willing to implement this, you will share your results.
Let’s talk about the importance of personal hygiene for children.
The following points will help you see how vital personal hygiene is for students.
Related: How to Improve Child’s performance in School: 11 Smart Guides
Importance of Personal Hygiene For Children
Children who have poor personal hygiene are liable to illnesses as their immune system isn’t as strong as that of an adult.
Ideally, they are void of the knowledge and skills that are required to care for their hygiene.
Thus, their parents must oversee these habits. They have to pay attention to the personal hygiene of their child.
And the best way this can be done is to start early with little practice at home.
With good personal hygiene, you can be confident of:
Staying Healthy: With the pandemic ravaging the world, your kids are free from catching coronavirus, and are free from illnesses and diseases resulting from bacteria.
Feel Goods: How does it feel when you are neat and clean? Very refreshed and all-around smart isn’t it? Children, too, will enjoy that luxury.
Maintain a Healthy Body Image: Those with poor personal hygiene have a long-term record of negative body image, which can negatively impact their social lives.
Maintain a healthy Personality: When a child is clean, well-dressed, and well-represented, self-image is boosted.
This, in turn, enhances confidence and chances of success in any profession they so choose in their life.
They have a better social life. It prevents them from repeated infections, which can lead to weight loss.
Social Significance of Personal hygiene for a Young Child
In school or around the neighborhood, kids that are not clean will be teased.
For example, it’s common to tease a child that picks nose or comes to school with dirty clothes, a foul smell, or matted hair.
In a study done by Australian psychologist Marion Kostanski, it was revealed that teasing is linked with a child’s self-esteem and society has a low tolerance for those who act and look differently.
The study further suggested that a child who would practice good personal hygiene will be at high risk of any injurious teasing from peers.
Therefore, teachers and parents are advised to teach children personal hygiene at a tender age to limit their susceptibility to this teasing by peers.
There are common infections like respiratory illness, childhood diarrhea, and bacterial skin infections that can be avoided in children only by washing hands with soap and water before they eat and when they are done using the restroom.
Sadly, a study conducted at Yamaguchi University School of Medicine in the U.S. and Japan Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention proved that in the majority of low-income homes, families couldn’t even afford soap.
Via donations, families were supplied with soap and then taught how to correct their hygiene practices. This limited their childhood infections by 50%.
Special Considerations for Your Kids
As Your kids transition into their teen years, their hygiene needs will change.
Brushing teeth, taking their bath, and changing their clothes may have been sufficient to walk them through early grade at school, but as they reach puberty, they will need to adopt a more complex hygiene routine.
Hormonal changes lead to excess oil on the child’s skin and hair, leading to a choking smelling sweat.
Therefore, during these teen years, your child would need to bathe regularly and use a deodorant that’s under their arms.
Expect a change in their hygiene needs. Be aware that they will need to take a more complex approach as they age and hit puberty.
Body Hygiene for Kids: Caring for Children’s Skin
The skin, identified as the body’s largest organ, is susceptible to several problems if care isn’t appropriately taken.
When the skin is well cared for, it can prevent skin issues and alert a parent or child to potential concerns quickly.
The earlier, the better it is to inform a doctor.
It’s essential to teach young children how to care for skins as they practice good habits at their tender age.
When washing your child’s skin, use only gentle soap. Don’t select products with dyes and fragrances.
The approved format is to rub soap into a cotton-like washcloth, starting from the head downward.
As you wash, pay attention to the baby’s face, in between skin folds, and behind their ears.
Good Hygiene for Kids: Preventing Itching in a Child
When you wash your child a few times a week, always pay attention to their face, groin area, oil, or dirt.
Babies do not require bathing daily until they start to crawl around and eat foods, Solid foods – Laura A. Jana, MD and Jennifer Sbu, MD.
When your child’s body starts to get itchy, dry, or scaly, you can gently rub the baby with moisturizing, unscented lotion.
Never apply lotion into babies’ hands since they are likely dipping them inside their mouths.
Additionally, pay attention to your baby’s tights, genitals, and bottom for signs of diaper rash.
Apply powder if possible and add a diaper rash cream. These will soak up excess moisture.
Laced your child’s skin with this sunscreen that has a sun protection factor of nothing less than 30 before taking the child outside.
Cover up cuts, open sores, and scrapes using gauze or sterile bandage to prevent dirt and bacteria that can get into the wound.
If you have any concerns about your child’s skin, speak with your child’s doctor.
Granted, dryness and rashes, and other minor skin issues are frequent; chronic skin issues should be checked thoroughly to determine any underlying condition.
Whether your kids go to the park or school, or any other places, they will always come in contact with dust and dirt.
And this can even lead to an infection.
Your kids will be tempted to dip their hands and toys inside the mouth.
These can be transferred from the mouth right to the child’s body. What does that mean? Diseases and infections!
And this can be prevented by applying the tips discussed initially.
No doubt, you’ve seen that teaching personal hygiene to elementary students is far from a herculean task.
Yes, you can teach your kids personal hygiene successfully.
Remember, poor personal hygiene can be bad for children. It can lead to disease.
However, your child doesn’t have to fight this too.
With these lessons discussed, you can be free from bacteria-causing disease as you implement these techniques.
Training elementary kids personal hygiene can save them from any embarrassing teasing from peers.
Implementing these techniques will let your child clean up well.
It is now time to implement these tactics!