"It's alright if you don't want to brush your teeth tonight. Let the germs have a party in your mouth while you sleep. After all, it is Saturday night." Said my cousin to her 6-year-old with obvious humour in her voice.
Her son Daksh smiled but kept sitting in the bed. He was very tired, but something from inside was stopping him from sleeping without following the last ritual of the day.
After weighing all the options for some time, he finally got down from the bed and dragged his feet to the washroom to brush his teeth.
I was surprised at the self-discipline in such a young child while my cousin smiled and winked at me.
"With regular practice, he has got so used to the habit that now his subconscious mind does not allow him to go to bed before he has brushed his teeth. That is the power of habit formation," my cousin told later with happiness on her face.
Why is the habit of cleanliness important?
For children, the lesson in cleanliness is, even more, important as their immunity is not developed completely and this makes them more prone to illnesses. It is best if the habit of cleanliness is developed at an early age.
Given below are some tips to develop these habits at a young age.
1. Washing Hands Regularly
The most important step in removing germs. Children can be easily lured towards this through the many advertisements shown on cartoon channels that highlight hand washing. Even many cartoon serials weave their stories around these habits. Children follow the good advice when it is shown to them through these mediums. Also to fascinate the child, attractive hand wash products can be bought.
2. Taking a Bath Everyday
If the child refuses to take a bath regularly, look for a reason. Children are unable to verbalize. The child must be hating the wet, slippery floor of the washroom.
The skin of the children is much more sensitive than us. Probably the temperature of the water is too hot or too cold for him/her. Or the shampoo/body wash must be irritating his/her eyes.
Get a no tears shampoo or the mild body soap that does not irritate their eyes. Spread an old towel on the washroom floor on which the child can walk without the fear of slipping.
If these are not the reasons ‘giving the toys a wash' works well. Toy animals, letters, squeaky rubber ducks and others are a good bath companion.
Some children enjoy splashing water in the pool, rather than take a shower. Let the bath time turn into playtime. If the child starts enjoying the resistance will slowly disappear.
3. Brushing Teeth Twice a Day
Brushing the teeth should start as the first tooth comes out. For babies, the mouth can be cleaned with the help of a soft cloth. For older kids, use a baby brush. Be careful to buy a mild toothpaste as the ones that we grown-ups use is very strong and tingly for young mouths. Children also enjoy if this activity is carried out together. So, gear up and brush your teeth together with him/her, however, inconvenient it is at times.
If the child resists a lot, avoid being harsh, give up for a few days but keep modelling the habits yourself.
4. Keep the Home and Surroundings Clean
The work area, the table, the bed sheets should be regularly changed, needless to say, we should wear clean clothes at all times.
Be persistent, try different tricks, because one trick does not work for a very long time with kids. Praise them when guests come home and in front of their friends, even if they are not regular in their cleanliness habits. They will try their best to keep up their image. It's just a matter of a few years. Once these habits sink in, you can sit back and watch them take the lead.
Click on the link bit.ly/Appystore_DevelopeGoodHabbitsInKids to watch a video on the good habit for your kid.
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