Encouraging good hygiene habits in children while they are young helps them develop good life skills and stay healthy.
Here are some simple hygiene rules you can follow to maintain a hygienic environment at home:
- Remind your child when they should wash their hands e.g. before eating, after using the toilet, after touching an animal etc.
- Model good personal hygiene skills, and describe to your child what you are doing. For example, seeing you wash your hands before cooking.
- Teach your child the importance of brushing their teeth twice a day. You may want to consult your child’s dentist to know if they need to floss as well.
- Remind your child to cover their mouth when sneezing or coughing.
- Teach your child how to blow their nose gently when it’s blocked, and throw the tissue in a dustbin immediately after.
- Encourage your child to think about why good hygiene skills are important
- Always have a spare set of clothes ready in case of any accidents e.g. toilet accidents or food and drink spills
- Keep your child at home when they are sick and potentially contagious
- While bathing daily is hygienic, it is not recommended to bathe babies daily. Visit Pregnancy Birth & Baby for more information on washing your baby.
The best way to wash your hands
This method is recommended by the National Health and Medical Research Council:
- Wash hands with running water
- Use liquid soap and spread over hands
- Rub your hands together and wash all over
- Wash palms and backs of hands, between your fingers, under fingernails and around your wrists
- Rinse your hands enough so all the soap and germs are gone
- Turn off tap using paper towel
- Pat dry your hands with a new paper
Encourage your children not to touch the tap after they have used it as the tap will have germs on it.
Read our fact sheet on ways to lower the spread of infectious illnesses