The Importance of Teaching Your Child Personal Hygiene

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Personal hygiene is an important form of self-care that will ensure that your child will lead a healthy life. Forming good hygiene practice from early childhood can have a positive effect on your child’s growth and development. Your child will also learn to be independent and boost their confidence and self-esteem.1

These tips can be very useful to ensure that your child is equipped with the best defence against all forms of bacteria and viruses.

For children, the basics of good personal hygiene include:2

  • Hand-washing
  • Covering their nose and/or mouth when coughing or sneezing
  • Regular baths or showers
  • Brushing and flossing their teeth

Hand-washing is the best defence against any bacteria and viruses. You can teach your child good hygiene practices from home. Here are some ways you can explain and teach your child basic personal hygiene:

Hand-washing

One of the most important, and the easiest, hygiene practice your child should master is hand-washing. It is important to explain why your child needs to do this regularly. You can tell them that “we wash our hands to get rid of dirt and germs that make us sick”.3

Another way you can explain the importance of hand-washing is to show what happens to germs when we wash our hands. A recent viral video done by a pre-school teacher is a good way to demonstrate what happens when you wash your hands with soap:

  1. Fill a plate with water and black pepper
  2. Dip your child’s finger into the water and hold it there
  3. When they remove their finger, there will be bits of black pepper stuck to it
  4. Dip the same finger into a plate of soap and swish it around to ensure that the soap coats their finger
  5. When they dip the same finger into the plate of black pepper water, the black pepper should repel away from the soap-coated finger

By visualising what happens to germs and viruses, your child will most likely understand why they should be washing their hands regularly. Encourage your child to wash their hands with soap and water:

  • When their hands look dirty
  • Before and after preparing food
  • Before and after eating
  • After going to the toilet
  • After blowing their nose, sneezing, or coughing
  • After touching animals
  • After playing outside

Now that they understand why it is important to keep their hands clean, it is time to teach your child the proper hand-washing techniques:

  1. Teach your child how to wash their hands. Ensure that they wash:
  • Their palms and fingers
  • The back of their hands
  • Their fingers and knuckles
  • Their thumbs
  • Their fingertips and wrists
  1. Make sure that they are washing with soap for at least 20 seconds. You can make this fun by singing some songs together:
  • Happy Birthday
  • The Alphabet Song
  • Wash Your Hands (to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat)4

     “Wash, wash, wash my hands

      Make them nice and clean.

      Rub the bottoms, and the tops

      And fingers in between.”

  1. Ensure that they wipe their hands dry after washing them.

The best way to teach your child is to lead by example. Remember to wash your hands after doing any of the above activities and your child will follow suit. By teaching your child to wash their hands and keep themselves clean, it also teaches them to practice social responsibility.

Coughing and sneezing etiquette

Coughing and sneezing is a common way for germs to spread. You can explain this to your child by showing them how a sneeze or cough travels.

  • Take a spray bottle and coloured water (e.g. food dye in water)
  • Pretend that the water is a sneeze/cough
  • Spray it on a blank paper or tissue to see how far and wide the coloured water ‘germs’ can reach5

This will teach them that it is important to cover their mouth and/or nose when they cough or sneeze to prevent the germs from spreading. It is crucial that they cover their nose and/or mouth with a tissue or cough/sneeze into their elbow to prevent the ‘spray’.

Leading by example

The easiest way to develop good hygiene habits is to keep practicing and lead by example. By washing their hands regularly, your child will lower their risk of contracting COVID-19 and also prevent the spread of any other virus or bacteria to their peers.

As long as your child is able to do the 2 basic hygiene practices, they have mastered the best defence against many types of bacteria and viruses, while developing self-help skills and learning about social responsibility.

 

References

  1. Ivy Prep Team. Developing Good Personal Hygiene Practices in Children. (Link)
  2. Health Direct. Personal hygiene for children. (Link)
  3. Reece, T. Teaching Toddlers About Hygiene. (Link)
  4. Columbus Public Health. Teaching Handwashing. (Link)
  5. Understanding Germs for Kids: 20 Fun Ways to Teach Your Kids about Germs. (Link)
  6. Proper Hand washing for kids and parents. (Image Link)
  7. Teaching children social responsibility (Link)

The Importance of Breakfast for a Child

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Whether or not your child eats breakfast can determine how they will fare for the rest of the day — will they be happy and energetic, or grumpy and tired? Breakfast is important because:

  1. It helps maintain a healthy weight for your child
  2. It provides energy and stamina for the rest of the day
  3. It improves mood and concentration
  4. It can affect your child’s education

However, more and more children are skipping breakfast before going to school. This can cause a huge impact on their growth and development. But, don’t worry! Here are 3 tricks you can use to encourage your child to eat breakfast:

  1. Model the behaviour you want your child to learn
  2. Keep breakfast light
  3. Give them options

Check to see if your child’s school offers a breakfast program if they can’t have breakfast at home!

Read more about this topic here.

How can you Help Your Child Settle into a New Environment?

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It can be stressful for both you and your child when they are introduced to a new environment. It could be their first day of school, a new classroom, or a new childcare. It can be emotionally challenging for children to be separated from their parents, even just for a little while. Settling into a new environment for young ones is a huge step and it is normal if they are having trouble with it.

Here are 6 tips you can use to help your child manage separation anxiety and settle into a new space:

  1. Familiarise your child with their educators and classmates
  2. Ask if they want to bring a comfort object with them
  3. Establish a goodbye routine to prepare them for the separation
  4. Empathise with them
  5. Stay connected with your child
  6. Create a routine — a fixed sleep/wake-up time

With these 6 tips, your child will be ready to step into a new social environment and learn how to manage their anxieties and worries!

Read here to find out how you can use these tips to help your child.

The Importance of Sleep to Children’s Development

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We go through two states of sleep each night:

Non-rapid eye movement or quiet sleep — Your body physically repairs itself during this state.

Rapid eye movement or active sleep — This state is responsible for cognitive development.

Young children (0–5 years) sleep for more than half the day as a huge part of their physical and cognitive development takes place during sleep. Sleep deprivation in children can cause a significant impact on their behaviour, development, and mental & physical health.

If your child is having some trouble going to sleep, here are 3 tips you can use to help your little ones go to bed on time:

  1. Create a regular sleep routine
  2. Remove any external distractions
  3. Ensure a conducive sleep environment

These 3 tips are guaranteed to help your child get a good night’s sleep! It is also important for you to be aware of their sleep patterns and note any problems if there are any.

Read here to find out more about how sleep deprivation can affect your child’s development.

Keeping Your Child Active During the Holidays

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The holidays can be stressful for parents. It can be challenging to come up with ideas to help release your child’s high energy when there are no set schedules.

Here are some ideas you can follow to keep your child active while retaining the skills they learnt at school:

  1. Family bonding activities can be simple. A family trip to the museum or family game night will be exciting!
  2. Sporting and adventure can be a good outlet to release your child’s high-energy. A good outdoor playtime will be good for their physical health!
  3. Nature experience can be educational and beneficial for their mental wellbeing in the long-term. Take them out on a hike or organise a family camp-out!
  4. Helping them find their hobbies can help them build interests that can turn into careers and facilitate skill development.
  5. Relaxing days are also good for your child to take a break. That’s what holidays are for, after all!

Make sure to balance both high-energy activities — to keep them active — and low-energy, relaxing activities to allow you and your child to recharge.

Read here to find out more about the activities you can do with your child during the holidays.

3 Ways to Help Your Child Break Out of Their Shell

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Building Social Interaction Skills

It can be tough to see your child struggling to interact with others in social situations. There are two components that should be met before they are comfortable interacting with others — understanding social concepts and using those concepts.

It is easy for children to understand the meaning and importance of social concepts. But most children struggle with putting those concepts into action. There are exercises you can do with your child at home to help feel more comfortable in social situations. These include:

  1. Coaching social behaviours
  2. Role-play
  3. Positive reinforcement

Going through these 3 exercises will equip your child with the necessary skills for them to interact with their peers at childcare or at school!

Read here to find out how you can use those exercises to help your child.

How Children Play and Learn Without Technology

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Our Children

Children are natural learners. By observing how the world around them operates, they instinctively become curious about cause and effect. As they progress through to adolescence from childhood, their minds are constantly analysing and concluding on what they observe(1). Our job as parents and educators is to provide children with the best possible tools and skills to kick-start their own individual life-long journey of learning. The 5 generally accepted learning domains are Science, Mathematics, Language, Health and Creativity. However, the challenge that parents are facing nowadays isn’t a lack of knowledge – it’s a lack of time.

Read more

Introduction to Mindfulness

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What is mindfulness?

Webster’s dictionary defines it as the quality or state of being mindful; the practice of maintaining a non-judgemental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.

While a good explanation, this definition doesn’t capture the true essence of what we believe mindfulness is, especially in the context of caring for children.

Mindfulness is our ability to attend to the present moment, with curiosity and kindness. It is our ability to pause, assess what is happening right in front of us, and respond with clarity, as opposed to reacting based on our (often unhelpful) habitual patterns. It is a willingness to be present, and to allow what is here to be here… because it’s already here! Extensive research has been done on this topic, and the overwhelming conclusion is that we are happier when we are present.

The problem that we are facing today is that most people have not been exposed to these skills earlier in life, and therefore wish that they had learned about it sooner. Teaching mindfulness to children from a young age is an invaluable skill that will help them navigate the challenges of childhood and adolescence.

How can mindfulness be taught?

The question then becomes, ‘what actual techniques can we practice and teach to children to help them develop mindfulness?’ Mindfulness can be practiced in a lot of different ways – there is no catch-all method or solution to achieving it. The key message behind this practice is to live in the present more. There is a tendency among people to go about their day on ‘auto-pilot’. This can be changed by paying attention to the smaller things and letting yourself feel how each unique situation affects you. Another key principle is to focus on what you are experiencing and feeling. Too often people only focus on the external things in life, rather than turning inward and reflecting on how the external things make you feel.

Some key outcomes that can be learned through practicing mindfulness:

  • Non-judging: Become an impartial witness of your own attention
  • Patience: Give yourself the space to have whatever experience occurs
  • Trust: Trust yourself
  • Letting go: Not letting yourself get caught up by emotions

In conclusion…

These principles are vital to imprint onto children from as early as possible, to help prepare them for a life that will be filled with challenges and obstacles that will have to be confronted. By practicing mindfulness from an early age, future generations will be better prepared for dealing with those challenges without losing sight of what’s important.

Want to learn new techniques that will help to develop mindfulness in you and your child? Keep an eye on our Facebook page – We will continue to post articles and tips in the coming weeks!

 


References:

  1. Smegen, I. (2018). Mindful at School.
  2. Killingsworth, M; Gilbert, D. (2010). A wandering mind is an unhappy mind.

Preparing for a New Child

“I’m pregnant…”

Becoming a parent can be a frightening experience when you’re uncertain of what to expect. But it needn’t be with the right amount of preparation and enhancing your own knowledge. Having your new child will change your lifestyle beyond belief, but you will experience things like no other when getting to know your child! Having children is a natural process and you should not be afraid of it, in fact, embrace the challenge ahead.   Read more

13 Traits Parents of Successful Children Have in Common

It takes a village to raise a successful, healthy child, and parents are the first step, we will continue to help here at Piptree too, with our holistic philosophy and engaged staff culture.

  1. Children should be doing some chores
  2. Children should be learning positive social skills
  3. Parents have high expectations
  4. The family gets along well with each other
  5. Teaching math concepts early
  6. Parents have completed higher education
  7. The parents get along well with each other
  8. Parents are Happy
  9. Value effort over failure
  10. Families that work outside the home too
  11. Poverty stunts potential growth
  12. Parents provide boundaries and guidelines
  13. Children are taught “grit” to sustain effort