Your child needs to keep themselves clean to remain healthy and to feel good about themselves. Good personal hygiene will help boost their self-esteem and confidence.
Teaching your child good hygiene habits
Everyone needs to keep clean to kill germs and avoid getting sick. Good personal hygiene also boosts confidence by dealing with problems like bad breath or body odour.
For children, the basics of good personal hygiene are:
- washing hands
- covering their mouth when they cough
- having regular baths or showers
- brushing and flossing teeth
You may have to help your child practise good personal hygiene habits. These will become even more important as they grow older and approach puberty. Being able to talk openly and honestly about keeping clean will help you manage the more difficult personal hygiene issues that are likely to come up when they are teenagers.
Most germs are spread through hand contact. Regularly washing hands will prevent your child and others from getting sick.
Encourage your child to wash their hands with soap and water:
- when hands look dirty
- before eating or preparing food
- after touching raw meats, including chicken and beef
- after touching any body fluids like blood, urine or vomit
- after touching animals
- after blowing their nose, sneezing or coughing
- after going to the toilet
Showering and bathing
Children need regular baths or showers. You could encourage a bath or shower at the end of the day as part of a bedtime routine.
Make sure your child washes all of their body, including under their arms and their genital and anal areas, and that their body is thoroughly dry before they get dressed.
Clothes and shoes
Children need fresh clothes every day, even if their old clothes don’t smell. Clean underwear every day is especially important.
You (or they, if they are old enough) can hang up their school uniform to air when they get home each day.
More informationVisit the Raising Children Network website for a graphic guide to good personal hygiene habits.
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Last reviewed: February 2020