Are you constantly running after your kids, tidying up their messes? Meenal Arora, executive
director of Shemrock Preschools, and the founder-director of Shemford Futuristic Schools, gives
you a few pointers to help your kids stay neat and tidy
Dr Haim Ginott once famously said, “Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression.” These impressions tend to last a lifetime. This is precisely why we need to inculcate and develop good qualities and habits in our children from a very early age. Of all the qualities and good habits that we, as parents, need to instill in our little ones, cleanliness is one of the first. Practicing cleanliness keeps children disease-free and happy. Children need to be taught to exercise cleanliness in all spheres. This way, the principles of good health and hygiene will come naturally to them.
Even a slight negligence in following the cleanliness regime can lead to ailments, ultimately giving way to serious illnesses, such as, infections, allergies, etc. Therefore, it is important for parents to encourage children to maintain a clean, neat and tidy appearance from a young age.
Here are some of the tips and tricks that have I have found to be successful when it comes to helping kids maintain personal hygiene:
● Begin your child’s day with asking them to freshen up followed by a meticulous hand wash.
● Guide them to brush their teeth properly for at least two to three minutes, to keep them cavity-free. Brushing teeth twice a day should be made a regular habit.
● Follow it up by a rigorous mouth wash to avoid mouth and gum-related problems, for children six years and above.
● Educate them on the importance of a regularl bath, with an anti-bacterial soap.
● Encourage them to wash their hands before and after every meal with a good quality antibacterial soap.
● Teach them to use a tissue while coughing or sneezing.
● Make sure they trim their nails properly as that’s a common place for germs to grow.
● Instruct them to wear washed, cleaned and ironed clothes.
● Direct them to avoid putting fingers and things like pencils, pens and erasers in their nose and mouth.
Moreover, educate your child that while personal hygiene is crucial, cleanliness is a wider expression. It means teaching children to be respectful and tidy when it comes to their personal space like their home, room, neighbourhood, schools, classrooms as well as their surroundings. It is important to know and realise that not only personal hygiene, but environmental cleanliness is also of utmost importance.
People who consider cleanliness important in their life, are conscious about a dust-free, garbage-free area around them, too. They realise their role in keeping society clean, and also consider it their responsibility to educate others on making cleanliness a priority.
However, cleanliness is not the responsibility of one person alone; it is the responsibility of each and every individual living in their home, society, community and country. We all should be careful in properly disposing off the waste in dustbins, so as to prevent spreading of infections in our home and surroundings.
The following points should be kept in mind to inculcate the virtue of environmental cleanliness
● Teach them not to spill food while eating.
● Instruct them not to throw bits of papers or garbage on the floor. Instead, tell them to throw garbage into dustbins.
● Advice your kids to keep their things like toys, books, etc. back in their proper place after use.
● Direct them to carry a paper bag, whenever they move out, so as to avoid disposal of garbage in the open.
● Teach them to not litter.
Apart from teaching them basic cleanliness etiquette, it is also important to involve them in keeping the surroundings clean. Guide them to pick litter and throw it in waste baskets. Keep a check on them by assessing them and rewarding them for following the rules of cleanliness. Help them realise and understand the difference between a hygienic and an unhygienic lifestyle.
Moreover, remember that you are your child’s first teacher and role model. Act accordingly and therefore, practice what you preach. Show your children what you expect from them. Take a cleanliness oath that as a family, you will always promote cleanliness and help others promote it too. After all, a healthy mind resides in a clean body. |MB