Childhood Health: 4 Ways to Teach Children to Care for Their Bodies

When your children are small, you take care of their bodies for them. However, learning to tackle these tasks for themselves is a big part of growing up and becoming independent. Taking care of their bodies is one of the most basic and most important skills you can give to your children. Here are four ways to teach self-care to your little ones.

Teach Hygiene Skills

Good hygiene is the foundation of health. Instilling cleanliness habits in your children can decrease their risk of illness and improve their social skills. Start with basic tasks like bathing or showering, washing hair and washing hands. Then work on more complex issues, such as teaching them to cough into their elbow and to use tissues for sneezing. Remind your child to wash his hands before and after touching his eyes, nose or mouth.

Visit the Dentist

Teeth are an irreplaceable part of the body, so prepare your child to keep her pearly whites for life by taking her for regular dentist visits. The staff can show your child how to properly brush and floss her teeth and help her get used to seeing a dentist. More than five percent of Americans avoid the dentist out of fear, and getting your child accustomed to visits early is a great way to prevent dental phobia. If your child needs fillings, crowns or a tooth pulled, sedation dentistry can make the experience easier and less scary.

Model a Healthy Lifestyle

Children love imitating the people they look up to, so be a good role model by practicing healthy habits. Eat healthy meals with your child and comment on the delicious taste of fruits and vegetables. Go for water or milk instead of soda when you’re thirsty, and make sure to engage your child in active play every day.

Broaden Your Child’s Vocabulary

Children’s needs often get ignored or misunderstood because they lack the vocabulary to describe what’s bothering them. Equip your child with the proper words to explain when he feels sick, depressed or anxious. Teach him the correct words for body parts and how to describe physical symptoms like headache, nausea and different types of pain. Your child will be grateful, and so will his teachers and doctors.

Remember that every child grows and develops differently. If yours isn’t ready for a particular task yet, it’s okay to put it on the shelf and try again later. Children with special needs may require extra help and assistance.