Kids are amazing, they burst into your life in a cacophony of noise, vomit and dirty nappies and lie there happily in the knowledge that it’s their parents that have to clean it all up. But as they get older there are certain things you need to teach them to do themselves to keep themselves healthy, and if we’re honest, smelling less awful.
So how do you go about tackling these?
Cleaning their teeth
Those first gummy, toothless smiles are adorable, then before you know it you’re pinning down a screaming toddler while your partner tries to force a toothbrush along with those brand new baby teeth. It’s like something out of Jurrasic Park. And you’ll probably get bitten too.
It’s worth getting kids used to people cleaning or checking their teeth from an early age, especially if they are going to need any dental procedures or see a braces specialist to straighten their teeth. You don’t want the dentist to lose a finger.
There are a number of things you can try (though be warned, it’s frowned upon to bribe them with sweets). You can try kids size electric toothbrushes, which can help them brush their teeth for the correct amount of time. The novelty may wear off after a while but by then they may be used to getting their teeth brushed.
Another method is to get yourself a pair of noise-cancelling headphones and let them watch one of the many teeth cleaning videos or songs on YouTube. Be warned though, you’ll probably have to listen to these thousands of times before you’re done.
Washing their hands
Kids hands are disgusting. They put their fingers everywhere (everywhere) and pick up everything. Before you know it their hands are a biohazard and the last thing in the world they want to do is wash them.
Before you’re done you’ll have every type of novelty hand wash, character towels, reward charts and similar. Try getting them to see hand washing as something that happens as part of a routine, such as eating, snacks, playing etc.
Going to the toilet
You’ve probably prepared yourself for the horrors of potty training, but no one warned you about teaching a kid to wipe their own bum. Undoubtedly, you’ll end up with disturbing fingerprints around the bathroom as they’ve attempted the job with a single square of toilet paper.
You might be distressed to learn that a lot of people recommend you actually teach by example in this area. So if you want an audience the next time you go to the toilet, then you’re in luck. After all, as a parent with young kids, it’s probably been a long time since you were able to go to the bathroom in peace anyway.
Being a parent is amazing but in no way glamorous. But the good news is, that once you’ve managed to teach these skills to your kids, they’re no longer your problem, so it’s time to knuckle down and get it right.