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Contemporary Parenting Questions


Last updated on 12/31/08

How can I encourage my children to develop proper personal hygiene habits?

Children generally get sick more often than adults do. Their immune systems are weaker because they are not fully developed, and spend much of their time in close contact with other children at daycare or school where germs are easily transmitted. Unfortunately, most children are not as conscious of personal hygiene as they should be, greatly increasing their risk of illness and the likelihood they will pass it on.

As a parent, it is not always easy to teach proper hand washing and dental hygiene. Children always respond better to activities that they perceive as fun. By using yummy toothpaste, cool soaps, and prizes, kids will want to bathe and brush their teeth. Additionally, children copy the habits of their parents. If you want your child to practice good hygiene, they must see that you do the same.

In the Jewish Community

One of the many places where kids pick up germs is at school. Although the health department carefully regulates public schools, private schools are only inspected once a year. Additionally, many Jewish schools are strapped for funds; improving the school’s hygiene standards is their last priority. In order to create a self and healthy environment for kids to learn in, parents must be aware of the school’s hygiene situation. If filthy bathrooms are the only facilities available for your child at school, send him with hand sanitizer and instruct him to use it liberally. Take action and speak to the school administrators about the unhealthy environment. Not only does it affect the health of your child, but it can affect the entire family and community.

Frequently Asked Links

What is hygiene?

Why is personal hygiene so important for kids?

Why is it important for kids to learn about hygiene?

Why is hand washing important? more

When and how should children wash their hands?

How can one wash hands without spreading germs?

What can happen if kids do not wash their hands after using the bathroom?

Why is dental care and oral hygiene important?

How should I explain hygiene basics to my teen?

How can I encourage good hygiene habits?

How can parents and educators make hygiene fun for children? more

How can I make personal hygiene fun for my children?

How can I make oral hygiene fun for my children?

What can I do to improve my child’s hygiene in school?

How can I help my children remember to take care of their personal hygiene?

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Why Should I Care About Germs?
Germs are tiny organisms that can cause disease - and they are so small that they can creep into your system without you noticing. Find out how to protect yourself.


American Academy of Dermatology
This website provides patients with up-to-date information on the treatment and management of disorders of the skin, hair, and nails., developed by the U.S. Office on Women's Health, offers girls between the ages of 10 and 16 information about growing up, food and fitness, and relationships.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The mission of the CDC is to promote health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability. Call: (800) CDC-INFO

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.

Stalking the Mysterious Microbe
On this American Society for Microbiology site, kids can learn more about bacteria, viruses, and other microbes.

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