Overall development of a growing child depends a lot on personal hygiene. As soon as my kids (triplets) were conceived, we were given instructions by our doctors on how to ensure hygiene. We diligently followed these, and as a result, my kids had very little health issues when they were small. When they started playschool, contact with other kids and unfamiliar surroundings demanded more care. Now they have turned five, another milestone in life, and they are in their kindergarten. They have started to explore their outdoors with real curiosity. I encourage them, because experts insist that play, particularly outdoors, is vital to children’s all-round health and well-being.
Now it is summer, and these summers are special for us. Soon my kids will find themselves busy with schoolwork and probably will not be as playful and carefree as they are now. This is extreme fun time, and I am enjoying every moment of it as much as they are. They love the outdoors, so do I, however I am also very concerned about their personal hygiene too. I insist on these when it comes to playtime:
- Washing hands – each and every time
Well, this is something they have to follow very strictly. Children have a habit of picking up everything they find curious, without any care about its cleanliness. I am sure you have noticed it. Initially I tried to discourage them from doing this, but then I realized that the natural curiosity should not be put off. So now three things I am careful about- their fingernails are always cut and clean so germs do not accumulate there, under no circumstance they should put anything picked from the ground in their mouths, and always they should wash their hands after playing, after using toilet, after handling pets. They like to feed Mili, our dog. I like to see them care for animals, it makes them better humans, I believe. But washing their hands after pet handling is extremely important.
- Taking baths
We live in a city, and no matter how much care we give, part of the city’s pollution affects us. The dust and smoke from vehicles cannot be avoided. Also we live in a hot humid climate, and we sweat a lot. So a daily bath is a must, but for our children we insist on bathing them twice. Morning bath, to keep them fresh, lively and active. Evening bath, to get rid of all the sweat and dirt from playtime.
- Washing hair
Washing their hair at least twice a week in summer is very important- to keep the hair clean and soft, and also free from dandruff. Hair-care needs to start early itself so in future they will have nice, soft and healthy glowing hair.
- Making hygiene second nature
It is not always easy to monitor kids, especially after they have started school. Hence it is important to teach them the importance of hygiene and observe it every time they play outdoors, so that the habits become second nature to them. This can be done by narrating stories, teaching them about germs, infections etc.
The difficulty mostly is to get them to bath. Sure, they enjoy splashing cool water, but when it comes to scrubbing them clean and applying soap, they make a lot of faces, making it clear that they do not enjoy it. Also I noticed that the soap and shampoo we used to apply result in dry skin and dryness to hair- making it lose the lustre. But recently when my sister came from a trip to Malaysia, she brought back a body wash and shampoo from a brand called Carrie Junior, which I found to be very good. It seems they contain a special combination of fruit extracts called Fruito- E, rich with vitamins and nutrients aimed to nourish, moisturise and protect children’s skins. There were various flavours- Cheeky Cherry, Groovy Grapeberry and Double Milk (I think there are more, but these are the ones she brought). It really moisturizes the skin- hydrates it and makes it soft! I found that my kids are enjoying their bath time a lot more. Surprisingly they liked the new body and hair wash- I think it has much to do with the colourful bottles, too. And I find myself a lot more relaxed and happy during their bath time. We play; sing and I tell them stories most of which is aimed at encouraging personal hygiene. The wonderful thing is that Carrie Junior is now available in India too!
I think the most important thing is to enjoy parenthood. Instead of considering it a chore, take it as fun. If we take the time to involve in all their little big things, in no time our little ones will grow, and when they do, they will develop to be happy and healthy with a personality that is a pleasure to be with!