As parents, it’s our job to make sure our children learn how to care for themselves and be functional members of society. Part of this job means that we are obligated to make sure our kids learn about personal hygiene early on. However, it can be difficult to find the balance between not stressing personal hygiene enough and making them afraid of the germs they are bound to encounter in everyday life. Additionally, it can be nearly impossible to explain hygiene to children because germs, lice, and sickness are not things they can easily see or hold. That’s why we at Hair Whisperers have outlined five fun games that will teach your children healthy sharing habits and good hygiene.
As the perfect game for younger children being introduced to hygiene for the first time, try out a game of hygiene charades. In a hat, bowl, or bucket, place a variety of small slips of paper with clues on them. Depending on the age of your child, these clues can be in a variety of formats (or mixed to create variety), including pictures or descriptions of:
After your child pulls a slip of paper, they then act it out until another player guesses what they are doing. Afterwards, allow your child to explain their clue and summarize what they acted out so other players hear how to be hygienic.
Handwashing is one of the most vital pieces in teaching your kids about germs and hygiene. Not only should b teach kids to wash their hands frequently, but need to focus on ensuring they are washing their hands effectively. To do so, try playing Glitter hands. Start by placing a pinch in glitter in your child’s hands to signify the tiny germs that they cannot see, showing them that everything they touch will then become infested with glitter. Have them wash their hands (typically done quickly before proper handwashing techniques are taught) and see that the glitter is still on their hands and spreads to the things they touch. Show them that it takes time and thorough hand washing to get all the glitter off their hands. After about 30 seconds of scrubbing every portion of their hands with soap and hot water, the “germs” will start to come off, making it a fun and colorful way to each your kids how to wash their hands.
Glitter Hands can also be used to teach kids about lice. Since lice are spread through head to head contact and kids don’t realize how often they touch one another, this can be a valuable tool in showing them how head lice spread. Put a small amount of glitter in your child’s hair before a sleepover, trip to the playground, or even a day at home playing with siblings. Afterwards, take a second to look in the hair of the kids they play with and show your child that their friend now has glitter in their hair, proving how fast germs or lice can spread.
Played much like a traditional matching game, teach your child about personal hygiene with a homemade matching game. Create 10 cards with pictures of hygiene products on them (toothbrushes, lotion, soap, nail clippers, hair brush, etc.) and 10 cards with corresponding hygiene phrases on them (brushing your teeth, moisturizing skin, cleaning hands, cutting fingernails,removing tangles from hair, etc.). Place all cards face down, allowing players to flip two cards at a time looking for a match. If they do not find a match, they flip the cards over until they find the match to the card. Not only will this game test your child’s memory, but will teach them what tools to use to take care of their own hygiene.
Designed at Penn State University, ‘Good Habit, Bad Habit’ helps teach kids the difference between good hygiene practices and bad hygiene practices. On slips of paper, write down a variety of good and bad hygiene habits, including:
Place all of the slips of paper in a bag. Allow players to pick out a slip of paper one at a time and place them in a location labeled “good habit” or “bad habit” (smiley faces, thumbs up or down, and green/red lights are also great!). Tell players to explain why each act is a good or bad habit after making their decision.
As parents, we try our best to raise smart, kind, and healthy children. As we teach our children about hygiene and caring for themselves it’s important to make sure they have fun in the process. Whether it’s germs, cleaning, or lice prevention, you will be grateful for the tips your child learns to stay hygienic and will love spending the extra time with them. If you child does contract lice even after learning about proper hygiene, don’t sweat it. Contact the Hair Whisperers for professional in-home lice removal in Southern California.