By Raising Children Network
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Personal hygiene: washing

Use water and soap to wash hands; regular bathing can be part of a bedtime routine; girls wash the vulva from front to back to avoid urinary tract infection.
  • Teach your child to wash hands before eating or preparing food, after going to the toilet, and after playing or touching animals or dirty things. Use water and soap over hands and wrists. Dry hands thoroughly.
  • Regular baths or showers will keep your child clean and healthy. Bathing at the end of the day can also be part of a bedtime routine. Make it fun with games and toys, and never leave your child alone at bath time.
  • Wash your daughter’s vulva gently in the bath or shower. Wash from front to back to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections. Her vagina cleans itself – don’t put anything in it.

Personal hygiene: washing, drying, toileting

Boys wash their penis and scrotum; dry body thorougly; teach children to wipe bottoms after going to the toilet, girls wipe from front to back.
  • Boys should wash their penis and scrotum the way they wash other body parts. Teach your son to regularly clean the tip of his penis. Avoid cleaning inside the foreskin until it can easily be pulled back.

  • Use a dry towel or flannel to gently rub your child dry. Dry all over your child’s body. Drying before getting dressed can help avoid rashes. In warmer weather, your child can air-dry before dressing.

  • Teach children to wipe their bottoms with toilet paper – you might have to help, depending on your child’s age. Show how much paper to use by counting squares. Girls should always wipe from front to back.


Personal hygiene: teeth and nose

Brush teeth twice a day and ask your doctor about flossing; blow nose gently when it's blocked; use a tissue when sneezing or coughing, then wash hands.
  • Brush teeth twice a day, once in the morning and once before bed. Speak with your dentist about whether your child needs to floss teeth.
  • Your child should blow her nose gently when it’s blocked – this makes breathing easier. Teach her to blow out candles or blow bubbles with her mouth, then to blow with her nose.

  • Your child should cover her mouth with a tissue when she sneezes or coughs. Put the tissue in the bin. She should cough into her sleeve or elbow when she doesn’t have a tissue. Always wash hands after sneezing or coughing.

  • Last updated or reviewed 01-08-2017