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Personal hygiene for kids in 4 steps

Don’t know where to start when it comes to hygiene for kids? Here’s our go-to guide.


By Cleanipedia Team

toothbrush and toothpaste for personal hygiene

Key steps

  • It’s important to teach personal hygiene for kids whatever their age
  • Hand washing for kids is a good place to start – let them know when and how to get their hands clean and remind them when they forget
  • Hygiene for kids is also about washing regularly so encourage them to get into bathing routines
  • Follow our other tips on how to teach kids about germs and bacteria.

There are lots of things to learn when you’re growing up and personal hygiene for kids is one of them. It’s important to start teaching hand washing for kids from an early age and know how to teach kids about germs as little hands tend to go exploring. There are many ways to develop good hygiene for kids from getting them to clean their teeth regularly to knowing when it is appropriate to shower. If you want a refresher on personal hygiene yourself (we all need reminders sometimes!) check out our guide.

Here’s our advice on how to teach children about germs and other important hygiene topics.  

  1. Personal hygiene for children: Teeth cleaning
    • One crucial part of personal hygiene for kids is oral hygiene. Good teeth brushing will prevent bad breath as well as protecting little teeth and gums. Show kids how to brush their teeth properly including the kind of brushes to use and the amount of time to spend. It’s always good to start them off by showing them how it’s done and then supervising teeth cleaning a few times to make sure they’ve got the right technique.
  2. Personal hygiene for children in the kitchen: food hygiene
    • Cooking is a favourite activity for many kids, so it’s important to get them clued up on food hygiene. This is the practice of appropriately handling food to prevent the spread of bacteria or infection. With little ones, this means teaching hand washing for kids (before and after preparing food), how to handle and clean tools and how to properly prepare different types of food. If you’re not sure how to teach kids about germs e.g. to smell their food and recognise when things have gone off, the easiest way is to make them a recurring guest star in your kitchen and let them learn your cooking routines while explaining why some food needs to go in the fridge and why some food may need to be thrown away.
  3. Hand washing for kids
    • Although hand washing for kids is an important part of food prep, it’s also a separate area of personal hygiene for kids in itself. It’s important that children know how and when to wash their hands. This involves showing and observing them hand washing; check for scrubbing of the nails, wrists and thumbs. One good way how to teach children about germs is to remind them to wash their hands after being outside, going to the toilet or doing anything that might involve these little bugs.  The ‘happy birthday’ rule is a fun way to teach hand washing for kids: they should spend as much time washing their hands in warm, soapy water as it takes to sing the happy birthday song.
  4. Personal hygiene for children: washing bodies and clothes
    • Finally, it’s important that children know to wash their bodies regularly. Find out their preferences for baths versus showers so that they can get clean in a way that suits them best and teach them which areas of the body to remember to pay a little extra attention to – like mucky feet after outdoor play and armpits after an energetic game of tag.

It’s never too early to teach children about laundry. Show them how to get clothes clean and how to make choices about laundry detergent e.g. opting for a brand like Neutral if you have sensitive skin and want to avoid perfumes. There are lots of other things kids can do to stay clean and healthy. These are just a few starting suggestions. For more ideas, have a look at the many useful teaching resources online.

If you’re planning to teach kids about good personal hygiene, be sure to stock up on soap, hand wash and toiletries. Neutral do a good range that’s gentle on sensitive skin.

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Originally published