Five Tips for Teaching Preschoolers Personal Hygiene

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When it comes to taking care of preschoolers, there’s a lot that you have to consider. After all, preschool is a tumultuous time for everyone involved. Your child will be transitioning from being an infant to being of school age. You will be transitioning from handling an infant to slowly helping your child understand how to take care of himself or herself. One of the most important things that you will need to teach your child is personal hygiene. A lot of people don’t think about it too much but everyone has learned to clean up after himself or herself from someone. Now it is your turn to teach your child how to clean up after himself or herself.

Personal hygiene can include many different areas such as using the bathroom, using toilet paper, and washing hands. These are all crucial skills that your child will need to know in life, making it all the more important that you know how to teach your preschooler. When your preschooler is not, well, at preschool, it can do wonders when you take it upon yourself to help your child learn personal hygiene. By understanding what to do and how to teach your child, you can rest assured knowing that your child will get the hang of it before you know it. With this being said, knowing a few tips on how to help your child is always a good thing.

Patience

As many children’s stories say, patience is a virtue. Arguably one of the most important things you will need when teaching your children about personal hygiene is patience. In the beginning, as your children ask you for help wiping and washing, you might feel frustrated that you have to do this for them. Being a parent is no easy task and it is often tiring. However, if you are tired and accidentally snap at your child for asking for help, nothing good will happen. In fact, there’s a good chance that you will have to deal with a meltdown from your child, which will end up taking even more time. Nobody wants this to happen.

Even if it’s the third or fourth time that your child has yelled across the house that he or she is done using the bathroom and needs help, sometimes all that you as the parent can do is grit your teeth and act calm about it. Depending on how mature your child is, you could consider telling him or her that you will be there as soon as you can but also mention that nagging will end up making you take longer. This will not only give you a little bit of breathing room when it comes to dealing with an impatient preschooler but it can also help establish the idea that sometimes you just have to wait for people.

Keep Yourself Supplied

Since the majority of kids who are of preschool age don’t quite understand how important patience is, there’s a pretty good chance that they won’t be too happy about waiting for you to come help them. This is especially the case when you have to grab extra toilet paper, wet wipes, or hand soap every time your preschooler uses the bathroom. Making your kids wait will overall make it more difficult for them to learn for themselves as they will simply become impatient. This is not good for your children.

Thankfully, this problem is pretty easy to solve. All you really have to do is make sure that you have extra hand soap, wet wipes, toilet paper, and other similar supplies on hand with you. You could store this stuff under the sink, in a drawer, or even just in a closet. As long as it is easy to get and won’t keep your impatient child waiting, it will be good.

Make it Enjoyable

This tip ties in directly with the last one. When you run out of bathroom supplies, you could consider bringing your kid with you when you go shopping for them. For example, you could tell your child that you are going on a hunt for the supplies and you can ask the child to “help” you find the supplies. While you probably know where the supplies are, it will make it an enjoyable experience for your child. When your child has fun picking out bathroom supplies, it can easily lead to your child associating good things with the bathroom. This can ultimately help your child get better at personal hygiene.

In addition to bringing your child with you to pick up various types of bathroom supplies, you can also consider other methods, such as singing a song with your child as he or she washes up. Not only will your child be able to enjoy singing a fun song but this will help your child get a better grasp on how long he or she should be spending when washing his or her hands. Plus, it can often come as a proud parenting moment to hear your child singing this song alone as he or she washes hands without any guidance from you.

Offer Incentives

Children, especially young ones, love being rewarded for doing things. As most parents probably don’t enjoy washing and wiping up after children, you could try offering incentives for when your child cleans up on his or her own. For instance, some parents will consider putting a token in a jar every time the child washes and wipes up on his or her own. Once that jar is full of tokens, you can reward your kid with something that he or she enjoys. This could be going out to get some ice cream or it could mean a small shopping trip where your child can pick something out. These incentives should help motivate your child a little more to clean up while also making him or her more eager to do it again in the future.

Praise Your Child

In addition to offering incentives for repeatedly washing and wiping up, you should praise your child. Even though it might seem silly to praise your child for something that is so standard and expected, this is something new and strange for your child. Plus, children often enjoy getting praised by their parents. Even if it’s just a simple affirmation of “You did it all by yourself, I’m proud of you!” and a high-five, it can mean a whole lot to your child. This praise will not only feel good to your child but it could push him or her to repeat this behavior for more praise, leading toward better personal hygiene.
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