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.


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.


Children need to learn how to clip, clean, and file their nails. When appropriate, they can be shown cuticle care.


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.

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