FOLLOWING the global economic crisis in 2008, many parents are finding ways of reducing their expenditure in 2009. One way is to reduce medical bills. What better way to save in this area than to teach your children good hygiene habits. MAUREEN NAKATUD
Cathy Kinosa, a mother of four, says the first step is to supervise your children. â€œSometimes children pretend to have bathed yet they just have poured water on themselves.â€ Check that they have bathed and washed their underwear well. In so doing, your children will learn how to wash and wear clean panties to avoid infections.
To reduce the dentistâ€™s bills, Kinosa recommends that you ensure your children brush their teeth and not just eat the toothpaste and pass a brush in their mouth. â€œTeach them the correct way of brushing to prevent tooth decay,â€ she advises.
Stephen Mwanje, a parent and an illustrator of sanitation and personal hygiene booklets with the Ministry of Health says children should be assigned tasks. Show them how to clean and dry the dishes. Teach older children how to trim off their younger siblingsâ€™ hair and nails.
Shamim Mugisha, another parent, says another task children can be given is to pick leaves in the compound. You can also make them lay their beds and clean their rooms.
Impart on your children the value of washing their hands. Teach them to wash their hands before eating, after visiting the toilet and touching their pets like dogs and cats.
Mwanje also recommends parents to teach their children that leftover food should be stored in a closed cupboard or covered with a net to prevent flies from lingering on it to prevent diseases. Incase the child wants to eat the left over food, they should be taught to warm it to kill any germs. However, when food goes bad, teach your children to dispose of it in a dustbin or refuse pit.
Victoria Makhohliso a Cape Town clinical manager in â€œGerm Warfareâ€, emphasises â€œGirls need to be taught to wipe from the back (from their vagina to their anus), to prevent faecal matter from entering the vagina or causing bladder infections. Boys need to be taught to aim straight.â€
Furthermore, teach them how to dispose of human waste in the toilet. This prevents flies from lingering on waste and the food items causing diseases. When your children get flu, teach them to blow their noses into handkerchiefs.
Not only should children have handkerchief when they have flu, but they should also have it all the time. In case they want to wipe their faces, they should not use dirty hands that can cause infections.
Children need to be taught one of the ways HIV/AIDS is spread is through blood of an infected person. Therefore, remind your little ones not touch someone elseâ€™ blood, sores, and cuts. Sharing razor blades or sharp objects among children should be discouraged by parents for the childrenâ€™s safety.
Be your childâ€™s guide to good hygiene