ord Teaching About Hygiene
Teaching About Hygiene PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sorah Stein   
Tuesday, 04 May 2010 03:55



Teaching about Hygiene


Growing up comes all sorts of nasty odors and cleanliness issues. For your sons, this will include greasy hair, acne, underarm hair, and overall a pretty icky smell. For your daughters this will also include these things, plus leg hair and menstrual care.

It is best to start teaching your child about good hygiene well in advance of his or her actually needing it. If you get him or her into the habit of showering regularly, washing his or her hair, using deodorant, and changing clothes daily, it will be less of a struggle when these become required activities. For your daughter, teaching menstrual care skills in advance of her needing them will be helpful to both of you. She will be more prepared and less likely to become distressed. As will you.

Some things that can help a child who is resistant to some of these hygiene tasks include taking him or her shopping and encouraging him or her to select deodorant, soap, a shaver, and shampoo that he or she likes. You can also set up a simple reinforcement system in which your child can earn preferred items for completing the designated hygiene tasks. As an example, my son earned time playing an on-line game with a friend (under supervision) after he completed 10 showers.

If your child has difficulty learning to complete some of the hygiene tasks, there are different techniques you can use to help him or her learn. One thing I like to do is create a task analysis – breaking down the task into small steps and then teaching the steps one at a time. For children who communicate via pictures or who use picture schedules, pictures can be very effective prompts to the steps needed in the hygiene task. For example, you can make picture prompts for each step in the showering process, laminate them, and hang them in the shower for your son or daughter to follow. The program Boardmaker is a great tool for finding these pictures.

Keep in mind too, that many of our children have difficulty with sensory experiences, and these can certainly be a problem with hygiene. For example, some children have difficulty with shower water; try an adjustable shower head and all of it’s settings, or accept the fact that your child can get clean in a bath. As another example, other children have a hard time dealing with scents and perfumes; you might need to find unscented soap, shampoo, and deodorant.

The big piece to helping your child learn the hygiene tasks is practice, practice, practice. You’ll need to balance out how much practice your child gets with each task daily. You’ll also want to make sure that you are not demanding too much of your child without sufficient reinforcement or when he or she is tired. Both of these would be recipe for disaster and frustration. By working with your child when both of you are ready, you will surely meet with greater success.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 May 2010 20:44

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