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Personal Hygiene


Learning to wash and toilet independently are important milestones in a child's development. When children are young, parents do the task for the child, but as they get older, parents can encourage the child to do more for him/ herself. Washing, toileting, brushing teeth and looking after one's body are all important skills for children to master. Dressing and eating skills are discussed elsewhere.

Things to think about:

  • Your child's developmental level and make sure that the task is achievable
  • Practice at weekends and during school holidays, when your child can take his/ her time and is not in a rush
  • Grade the activity to ensure success, start with easy tasks and then try the more difficult ones
  • Daily practice will be helpful, and helps the child maintain the skill once learnt
  • Try to guide them with a question, rather than telling them what they need or have forgotten e.g "What is the weather like today? What will you need to wear?"rather than "You will need to wear a jumper today"
  • Try using reward charts to increase motivation, rewards do not have to be things you buy but can be time spent with an adult e.g. praise, a hug, baking a cake with a parent, going to the park, playing a board game
  • Many children benefit from reminders with pictures for each step and can be made into laminated posters. One website with pictures is Do2Learn
  • When they have finished, teach the child to check how they have done, by looking in a mirror, to see if they are clean and tidy or have missed a step

For further advice see these advice sheets on teaching self care skills and life skills for little ones.