The last thing on the toddler’s mind is how clean his or her hands are, or if he or she brushed his teeth yet today. By starting the baby early, and getting him or her interested in self-cleaning tasks, the toddler will be more agreeable to any tasks related to cleaning themelves, and not struggle as much when mom and dad help.
Getting the Toddler Interested in Self-Grooming: The Toothbrush
When baby’s first teeth emerge, go and buy a toothbrush and gum cleaner if you dont’ already have them. Let the baby, with supervision chew on the toothbrush, if they are not in pain. The baby will become familar with the toothbrush, and it may soothe the gyms.
Give the baby or toddler his or her toothbrush when you are brushing your teeth and the toddler happens to be in the bathroom with you. The toddler may simply chew on the toothbrush, but he or she will associate toothbrushing with certain times of day, the morning and bed time, and mabye even after meals.
If you are in the bathroom and the toddler points to his or her toothbrush, let them have it.
This does not replace proper parental brushing, it simply lets the baby and toddler explore the toothbrush, become familiar with it, and learn ot associate it with certain cleaning habits.
Getting the Toddler Interested in Self-Grooming: Wipes
Babies and toddlers both love to play with wipes. When baby empties out the wipes, it’s no fun. Give the baby or toddler one wipe, emphasizing one, and take onefor yourslef. Wipe your face wtih it, until baby imitates you. Say “wipe your face” or “wipe your mouth,” since they probably understand the word “mouth.”
Getting the Toddler Interested in Self-Grooming: Changing Clothes
When it is time to change a shirt, involve baby or toddler. A toddler thinks its’s fun to run around in a diaper, so you have to be quick. When you put baby’s arm through, explain what you are doing with each step: “Here’s the right arm” “Where are those fingers”? “Where’s that hand?” “Oh there it is!” and kiss the hand when it comes out of the sleeve. Babies learn early on to tuck in their fingers and thumb. Do the same on the other hand, and the head. Make it a game and name the body parts.
Getting the Toddler Interested in Self-Grooming: Diaper Change
For young babies, changing a diaper is easy. They are pretty still. Changing the diaper of a toddler can end up in a wrestling match. It is easier if you give the toddler something to play with, to keep them busy. They still may find it funnier to try and run away. The best solution is to have some pull-up diapers on hand. They do make them for babies that are 25 pounds and up. So even if baby is not potty training yet, the pull up diapers can come in handy. They can save you from a struggle when the toddler is in no mood to stay still for a diaper change.
Getting the Toddler Interested in Self-Grooming: Hand Cleaning
Playful and independent toddlers do not apprecaite their hands being held still to be cleaned. Make it a habit to clean thetoddler’s hands before they eat. make it fun by counting the fingers on each hand quickly as you wipe down each hand.