Children need to learn how to wash their faces and hands, cut and care
for their nails, brush their teeth, blow their noses, comb, braid, and
brush their hair.
Each activity is taught to the child step by step in a simple, direct
fashion as an adult would perform the job in their own home. No special
knowledge or procedure is needed. Simply teach the child what is necessary
in daily life. This is illustrated below in the lesson on washing hands.
Tell the child you'd like to show him how to wash his hands. Have the
child join you at the sink. It is probably best to show the child how to
wash his or her hands as the child would be expected to do so at home.
Show the child how the faucet works and how to get cold, hot, and warm
water. Illustrate how to test the temperature of the water so as not to
get water too hot or cold. Let the child experiment until he or she gets
a temperature which is pleasant for washing hands.
Have the child notice any dirt on his or her hands. Then, have the
child moisten his or her hands and take a bar of soap and lather palms,
fingers, and backs of hands. Have the child turn off the water anytime
he or she is not directly using it to either moisten or rinse his or her
hands. Briefly mention that this saves water. Show the child how to rub
all parts of the hands - between fingers, wrists, back of hands, as well
as palms. Have the child rinse off the soap and see if any dirt remains.
If a spot is found, have the child re-apply soap to that spot, rub and
then rinse and check again.
When the hands are clean, show the child how to dry his or her hands
with a towel. If a paper towel is used, show the child where to dispose
of it. If a cloth towel is used, show the child how to fold and replace
it on the towel rack.
Show the child how a person normally washes his or her own face. Avoid
using a pure soap that would dry out the skin. Have the child watch what
he or she is doing in a mirror. Help the child learn to avoid getting water
in the eyes. Show the child how to pat his or her face dry.
Children sometimes have a hard time distinguishing between blowing
out of their nose and breathing in. They should be shown how to blow gently,
how to hold the tissue, and to look into the mirror to see if their nose
is clean. When children are little, they don't always notice when their
nose is running. The teacher can help them notice. Looking in the mirror
can be a check. Then, a tissue should always be convenient so that the
child can use it instead of his or her arm or clothes.
Children need to learn the care of teeth. It is important not to scare
or worry the children about tooth decay. It is especially important that
they do not fear the dentist. So, the emphasis is on how to take good care
of teeth and how the dentist helps. Often local health authorities or a
local dentist will supply a tooth brush for each child. Each tooth brush
should then be labeled and each child should have his or her own place
to keep it.
The emphasis on brushing teeth should be on the best way to brush the
teeth to keep the teeth clean and the gums healthy rather than on the good
taste of tooth paste. Therefore, in the beginning, anyway, it is probably
best to have the children simply brush their teeth with water.
A local nurse, dental hygienist, or dentist is often interested in
visiting the classroom or in having the children visit the dentist's office.
Sometimes they have a film they like to show. However, with young children,
it is probably preferable if the teacher gets the information from the
dentist who gives the children short, simple individual lessons when appropriate.
Later, the children may enjoy a visit to the dentist's office.
Children will enjoy learning about teeth. They will be interested in
pictures which show the different kinds of teeth, the parts of teeth, and
the placement of teeth in the mouth.
COMBING, BRUSHING, BRAIDING HAIR
Children will want to learn how to fix their hair. It is nice if they
can each have their own comb or brush to keep and use. They will probably
want to try combing and brushing their hair in different ways. The teacher
can show them how to hold the comb and brush, how to make parts, and how
to comb and brush all sides of the head. Sometimes the children like to
comb each other's hair.
CARE OF THE FINGER NAILS
Children need to learn how to clip, clean, and file their nails. When
appropriate, they can be shown cuticle care.
ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES FOR THE HOME
At home, parents can help children learn to bathe and wash their hair
by teaching them early. Children are helped by parents taking the time
to show the child how to set the temperature in a shower, work the faucets,
soap down, rinse off, keep water off the floor, and hang up towels. A child
will need help in checking to see if he or she has soaped down his or her
whole body and then has rinsed all the soap off. The child will especially
need help in learning how to wash hair without getting water and soap in
his or her eyes.
The children should not be expected to just begin doing these things
for themselves. The adult should show them step by step. The adult should
be there to help. While the child is learning, washing is a project upon
which the child and parent work together.