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Family Litter Secrets - Mum-of-three shares how to teach kids about good hygiene and cleanliness

Children learn best by example—and good habits start at home. There is no better time than now to demonstrate and cultivate good hygiene and cleanliness habits with this list of good hygiene habits.

Hygiene education begins at home

As a mother of three, and Deputy Director of the Public Hygiene Council, Ms Gloria Tan shares with theAsianparent readers some insights on how parents can make the most of #StayHome and teach children about good hygiene and anti-littering habits.

Tan addresses the top concerns that parents might have, dishes out resources, tips and activities that can help kids get involved in the process.

1. How do you explain good hygiene and cleanliness to children?

According to Tan, children must learn the basics of how germs, bacteria and viruses are present everywhere — even if they cannot see them.

Whether or not it is a pandemic that we are currently facing, the key takeaway is the important habit of washing our hands properly to maintain good hygiene.

And parents play an important role in helping their children cultivate this good habit. With consistent messaging, your child will pick up these good personal hygiene habits.

2. How can parents be a good example for their children?

Children learn best by example, and good habits start at home said Tan.

Do we clear our own dishes and make our own beds? Do we bin our used tissues or leave them lying about?

It helps when parents become good role models for their children when visiting hawker centres, fast food restaurants, food courts, coffee shops and the list goes on. We have the ability to clear our tables after eating, and bin our trash properly.

Apart from that, parents can also start conversations about the immediate impact of inconsiderate and unhygienic actions.

An example would be leaving plates in the room after eating which could attract scary roommates – pests like cockroaches and flies! They carry germs and viruses that can make us ill.

3. What are some simple tasks that children can do to remind them of cleanliness and hygiene habits?

It is important to remind our children to wash their hands with soap frequently, especially before and after meals, and after using the toilet.Here are some ways parents can get their children to clean up after themselves:

   Clearing the play area – and putting toys back where they belong

   Families to establish a routine for household chores

   Children to tidy their own bed

   Sweep the floor

   Wash the dishes

4. How can we make it exciting for children to learn about hygiene habits?

Tan recommends turning household chores into fun games. A list of good hygiene habits with fun games include:

Sort out the trash:

Create different “recycling bins” for plastic, cans and paper. Then, race to see who can sort the “trash” fastest.

Tidy up the room:

Have a race between you and your kids to put the toys back in their place as fast as you can!

Clean up the house:

Pair a cleaning activity with your child’s favourite songs. Pause the music intermittently. When the music stops, they need to freeze in place.

They will be eager to resume immediately once the music comes back on. Another way is to play cleaning-themed songs such as this one.

Reading them stories will also help. Here are some useful and educational titles you can start with:

5. What other activities can children participate in?

Your children can participate in litter-picking or recycling activities in their school and the community.

They will experience first-hand the amount of litter strewn around and the effort that goes behind cleaning up. They will also learn about the different types and amount of waste generated daily.

Ultimately, good values and habits start at home. When children practise good hygiene habits and clean up after themselves at home, they are more likely to apply these habits wherever they go—in schools or at other public spaces like hawker centres.

Image & article credit: theAsianparent.