Cleanliness and hygiene are two things that most toddlers are not inclined. Almost every toddler possesses the natural inclination to get dirty. In fact, our little ones seem to master the art of getting all messy down to a pat. Rest assured that most little ones don\u2019t dirty themselves just for the sake of annoying their parents- though sometimes the look of horror in some parents\u2019 faces is enough to amuse any kid! Well, while it\u2019s all fun to get messy now and then. As parents, we have the responsibility to instil a sense of hygiene and cleanliness into our little ones\u2019 minds. So, that they will grow up knowing how to take better care of themselves and to avoid germ-related sicknesses. It is not a pretty thought, but toddlers and germs are a synonymous pair. So much so that they go well- hand in hand more in the hands of the tots! A young child with a runny nose generally thinks nothing of rubbing the snort off his nose with his hand. After that, placing that same hand over a buddy\u2019s shoulder. Similarly, some toddlers give much thought to picking up a snack which has fallen off their hands onto the hygienically questionable surface. For instance, the floor and popping it back into their mouth, especially if they were enjoying their food in the first place. So, where do we begin to teach our young ones about the virtues of cleanliness for their own health and well being? From as young as possible, of course! The following are some useful points to keep in mind when teaching toddlers about hygiene. Image from stock.adobe.com Teaching Your Kiddos Cleanliness And Hygiene Keep those hands clean! Some parents seem to be blessed with clean little freaks who just don\u2019t like getting their hands dirty, but most are not. Keeping little hands clean is the first step in teaching kids about hygiene because hands are literally the main gateway for germs to travel from the surroundings into the body. Ensure your toddler washes his or her hands at these times: \tAfter a potty session or using the toilet \tBefore every meal or snack \tAfter spending time at a playground \tAs soon as they reach home from any kind of outing \tAfter an arts and crafts class \tAfter playing with a pet Make boring handwashing timeless Toddlers are attracted to fun things all the time. They are more likely to wash their hands willingly if they have \u2018tools\u2019 they like. Hence you can liven up hand washing times with colourful animal-shaped soaps or hand-washes in attractive dispensers.\u00a0 Attractive hand towels to wipe hands dry afterwards can also be little motivations to help them look forward to washing their hands. Kiddy See Kiddy Do The best way to get your toddler to pick up good hygiene habits is by setting an example yourself. If your kids see you washing your hands before a meal or after using the toilet often enough, they will soon pick up the habit out of imitating you. Therefore, do make sure you continuously display good habits for them to emulate. Image from stock.adobe.com Make It Convenient Teach your little one how to use a hand sanitiser properly. Keep bottles of kid-friendly ones handy around the house for quick and easy clean-ups. Kids will take to keeping their hands clean and germ-free more willingly if it\u2019s convenient to do so. Teach them to wash\/wipe themselves Potty times are much more manageable with seats designed for little bottoms, either self-contained ones or ones that fit atop an adults toilet seat. While it\u2019s always a good idea to do a once over after a kid is done. Let your little one wash and wipe with toilet tissue. Teaching the correct techniques according to your culture or how you see fit. When teaching little girls to wipe, don\u2019t neglect to point out the \u2018front to back\u2019 technique. It is to prevent bacteria from the rectum from infecting the vagina or bladder. Toddler bowel movements are unpredictable and can get pretty messy at times, so do keep wet wipes handy with you for emergency potty time clean-ups. Bath time As much as we feel the need always to bathe our little ones ourselves to ensure that they are really clean. Do remember that toddlers love to learn new things, including how to take a bath. Allowing children to take a bath themselves while keeping a watchful eye on them. It can be a great way to get them interested in a bath time routine. While many kids take to water like a ballerina to her tutus, just as many have an unexplainable phobia of getting wet. To make bath time more appealing for such kids, get creative with the bath products you choose! Colourfully packaged body washes, soft, attractive wash-cloths and bath toys. Those are some of the \u2018tools\u2019 that can be utilised to make bath times more appealing for these little enemies of water.\u00a0 Make sure choose gentle, non-tear body washes or head-to-toe cleanser so that they will not sting their eyes with the suds. Announce and name each body part during your toddler\u2019s bath time and explain why it is crucial to keep these parts clean. Teaching your little kiddo the proper names of their body parts will also make it easier for them to inform you at any time if a particular place on their body is in pain or needs your attention. Teach them how to clean their genitals and rectum to keep bacteria away correctly. Most important of all, help them to master the art of rinsing off every scrap of cleanser from every part of their body to prevent the onset of uncomfortable rashes. Keeping ahead of clean hair Teach toddlers to brush or comb their hair to prevent knots. An excellent detangling shampoo for children and conditioner will make the process more pleasant and manageable. A soft nylon brush made especially for toddlers is best for their delicate head of hair. In today's world, we would like to think that hair lice are a thing of the past. But unfortunately, there are still cases of outbreak now and then. Always perform routine checks on your little one's hair to make sure that they haven't carried home some uninvited pest from playschool, the playground or heaven forbid, even from a kids\u2019 party. If you find lice in your child\u2019s hair, consult your doctor at once for a prescription for the best lice medication to use for your child\u2019s age. Remind your little one about the importance of not sharing combs, hats, caps or hair accessories with others to prevent the spread of head lice. Image from stock.adobe.com Games to teach toddlers about good hygiene Where are the germs? Teach children about the spread of germs with a demonstration game of how germs can live on hands and spread to the things they touch. For this game, you will need some washable paint. Pretend to sneeze into your bare hands and then cover your hands in the washable paint. Explain to your child or children that the paint represents the germs that were expelled from your body. Then go around touching things around the room, leaving behind a \u2018trail of germs\u2019 for them to see. After that, reinforce the lesson by having the kids find and identify all the surfaces where germs now live and how it got there. From your transferring them around the room by not washing your hands. Good habits, bad habits Get about 12 small pieces of papers. Write one good habit each in six pieces of paper. For instance, brushing the teeth after each meal, washing hands after using the toilet. Next, write one bad habit each in the remaining six pieces of paper, like picking the nose with your fingers, coughing or sneezing without covering the mouth, etc. Fold all the pieces of paper and place them in a bottle or box. Then have your kiddo draw out one paper at a time to see what\u2019s written on it. If your kid is still illiterate, read it out loud. Then let them determine if its a good habit or bad one while explaining why so. The matching game For this game, use two sets of index cards. On one set, draw a picture of a hygiene care tool on each of the card such as toothbrush, nail clipper, shampoo, etc. On the other set, draw pictures of body parts which correspond to the tools you have drawn on the previous set of cards such as teeth, fingernails, hair, etc. Spread out the cards facing down and have your little one open flip them over to try to find the corresponding cards. Play charades! A great way to teach young kids hygiene while having fun! Write down various hygiene care actions such as 'Brushing teeth' and 'Washing hands' on pieces of papers. Let one child read it and try to act out the action while the other\/others guess what the action. This game can also double up as a game to teach the proper ways to carry out hygiene care. How about that? We sure hope your kids will now keep their hygiene and cleanliness. Not to forget to have fun while doing it. After all, maintaining self cleanliness with good hygiene gives good health as well. Stay tuned for more parenting and health concern write up on our blog. Don't forget to check out Motherhood.com.my for the dose of your favourite baby items online!