Often it is seen that children tend to scratch their private parts in front of outsiders – within home and outside because these parts have not been cleaned properly. The situation becomes awkward for their parents. If cleanliness is not taught to the children, the behaviour continues to adulthood making it disgusting for the onlookers. Thus it is important for the parents to teach hygiene to children.
Geetika Kapoor, Consultant School Psychologist, in an exclusive interview told ajournalistreveals.com, “Awareness about cleanliness and hygiene are related to key life skills that reflect harmony and calm with self and the society. These core practices are not only useful to the individual practicing it but also one’s environment and people associated with it. In the meantime, these are non-intuitive core skills. The adults should create awareness regarding these life skills in their children. The kids can learn these skills the moment they start showing enough movement and comprehension to follow their elders. 12 months is about the right time. The right procedure is in changing and adapting according to age.”
According to her these are ways to achieve these skills:
Power of Observational Learning: Bringing this awareness and practice to children often starts in a ritualistic manner where family members display certain practices and child emulates the same. Learning by observing and imitating significant others in the environment is a powerful strategy to get young minds hooked on to the practices. When they begin following the adults, children often do not realise their importance. They only repeat these activities because people they love do it.
Talking About Need and Effects Of Clean Existence: Using stories from mythology is a fun way to make children aware of core skills of cleanliness and hygiene. Children often repeat dialogues and themes of stories in their play. Furthermore, elders can prompt their children and guide them to practice these rituals more deliberately till these are internalised by the young souls as an integral part of their beings. Families that insist on strict implementation of these norms, the children are more cautious.
Extending with School Based Interactions: Children are exposed to heightened sense of responsibility to other members of one’s social milieu, in the school’s structured environment. The effect these actions have on self and others can make a lot of difference to the children. In schools and classrooms, there are often routines that encourage its students to keep their surroundings clean. In most schools, uniforms, nails and polished shoes are checked. These cleanliness drills endeavour to make the child more alert to cleanliness and hygiene.
Prompt When They do not Imitate: Sometimes children do not imitate at all. In these situations, prompting helps to get them initiated in the useful practices.
Praise and High Fives: Letting children know what behaviours are appreciated and praising those helps children learn what habits to value. Parents should give a positive feedback. That is imperative. If parents do not notice their children’s cleanliness and hygiene, the little people may indulge in the opposite to grab adult attention.
Working as a Team: When significant others present a joint front and support each other; children have clearer idea about valued skills and are more likely to learn them. If family members give conflicting messages about cleanliness, this can confuse the children and can make the children end up not learning the necessary skills.
Walk the Talk: Follow same cleanliness and hygienic practices that you preach to the children. If elders do not apply the same things as they guide children to do in their own lives, the little ones stop valuing them.
Watchful in not Nagging People: Maintaining a motivating and emotionally healthy relationship is important for children to feel excited to follow the presented ideas. But nagging does not work and children may learn to ignore and in some occasions, go for the opposite behaviour.