The Healthy and Sanitary Habits of Teaching Children at Home – Mom ThrivesNisan 23, 2021
The habits that children learn at home can set them up for either failure or success. This is a huge responsibility for us as parents, but making an effort to put these habits into practice will also help us improve ourselves! To give you and your children a good start in health and hygiene, here are seven habits you can use to teach your children at home.
Follow a consistent routine
The importance of a consistent routine cannot be emphasized enough. In addition to supporting physical health, there are also constant times for sleeping and eating closely related to behavior. While a variety of activities are extremely important, the building blocks of any day should be basically the same:
- Wake up
- Excursion / activity
- Excursion / activity
- Having lunch
- Napping (for younger children) or excursion / activity
- Excursion / activity
- Quiet game
- Snack (optional)
- Go to bed routine
- Even bedtime
When children have constant times to wake up and sleep, their circadian rhythms work best and they actually have better control over their emotions. For us as parents, this means that we sit down and devote some time each day to planning to make sure our children eat and sleep on time.
Make meal times a family activity
Eating is one of life’s greatest joys, and it is also often minimized when our life is overly busy or when we are eating on the go. However, if we teach our children to eat mindfully rather than mindlessly, they can be much more committed to healthy relationships with food throughout their lives.
A study shows that mindful eating is linked to healthier weight, improved eating behavior and reduced psychological distress. Meal times traditionally were also an opportunity to network and talk about the day’s events, read a chapter of a book together, tell stories and develop appropriate table manners. While you may not be able to share every meal together as a family, choose a meal that is eaten together every day, put away the appliances, and focus on making that meal extra special.
Teach effective hand washing practices
Getting dirty is extremely important. The microbes in the soil help with this Strengthening children’s immunity and reduce the chance of allergies. Equally important, when your children arrive home, teach them to wash their hands effectively as part of the transition between outdoors and indoors. This will help prevent hand-to-mouth contamination while eating and keep your possessions a little cleaner indoors!
While the routine can vary from family to family, a good “arrival routine” might include:
- Take off shoes and contaminated clothing at the door.
- Put away all outdoor gear.
- Go to the bathroom and wash her hands.
When your child washes their hands, they should lather their hands and wrists with soap and keep massaging that lather for 20 seconds or the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday. You can then rinse off the foam, paying attention to the front and back of your hands and between your fingers. After playing in the dirt, using a nail brush to clean under the nails can help prevent infection.
Maintain hygiene with face masks
Face masks were a controversial topic during the COVID-19 pandemic. The truth is that they represent a much needed barrier between humans and the particles they emit. It is important that this be a habit shared by everyone and that you keep your family’s face masks clean.
To make wearing your mask more effective, you should have at least two washable face masks per person that are accessible (on hooks) when leaving the door. After a mask has been used, it should be washed with soap and hung to dry for use the next day. If you have a large family, it can be helpful to put the hooks with each person’s name so that face masks are not shared by family members.
A tidy home is a happy home
When we talk about putting face masks back in place, let’s talk about putting things away in general. With keys, face masks, backpacks, etc., it can make the difference whether you get off on time or spend half an hour looking for your keys. The same applies to school supplies, hobby equipment, books and toys. Putting things away saves time and improves your mental health also!
The habit of Put things in their place is described as neatness and starts when your children are very young. As soon as your child can crawl or walk, teach them Pack up your toys as soon as the game session ends. In most cases, you will need to use some clever strategies to encourage your child to pack. Here are some who have helped other parents:
- Provide a tub, box, or bucket that your child can put all of their toys in.
- Make packing time a game by throwing toys (carefully) into the box and shouting “goooooooal!”.
- Learn or invent a pack-up song to make the transition easier for your child.
- Set a clear line around packing with clear ramifications that your child can rely on (i.e. toys may be confiscated for a day or two if not put away).
Grooming is a habit that is established early in life and affects your child’s health, relationships, job prospects, and self-esteem. While it can be difficult with young children (especially with multiple children), it is important to establish a workable personal hygiene routine. In addition to a daily bath or shower, you should teach the following habits:
- Put used clothes directly in the laundry basket.
- Wash laundry and hang out to dry (for older children and teenagers).
- Put dry clothes straight in the closet (to avoid wrinkling).
- Brush or comb and style hair.
- Clean your fingernails with a nail brush.
- Trim fingernails and toenails regularly.
- Hygienically remove the nasal mucus in the bathroom.
- Apply moisturizers to your hands and face.
- Apply deodorant as needed (for teenagers).
Regularly cleaning and changing underwear, especially for girls, can help prevent infections such as thrush. It is also important for boys to learn to clean their genitals properly to prevent infection. For both girls and boys, it helps them to be aware of their personal hygiene and grooming skills to avoid teasing or friendship problems caused by “stinking” or “dirty” getting their noses out in public tugging or scratching your butt when others can see it.
After all, it is a habit to take care of sanity for a lifetime. We often think of mental health as a problem that affects adolescents and adults, but we are seeing an increasing number of Children struggling with anxiety and depression. While each factor varies, there are some very basic habits that you should instill in your children for healthy minds:
- exercise for at least an hour every day.
- As a family, plan plenty of outdoor activities.
- Feed your children’s minds with inspiring books.
- As a family, take part in “centering practices” (meditation, prayer, quiet time, journaling).
- Limit and monitor screen time carefully.
- Take the time to listen to your children.
- Teach listening and communication skills.
- Teaching skills for conflict resolution.
- Praise your child’s effort, not their ability.
- Strive for excellence, not perfection.
Take that away
As parents, everything we do is important. We create the generation of the future. And while it’s easy to live our lives on the autopilot, unhealthy habits that we maintain will reduce our children’s chances of success. Conversely, if we strive to improve and establish healthy habits as families, we will not only get our children off to a good start, but we will also enrich our own personal lives.
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