Many kids sharing space raises the risk of sickness in preschools, primary schools, childcare facilities, and home-based daycare. Every child care centre should maintain adequate cleanliness standards to avoid infectious diseases and improve a child’s health.

When kids are young, they can learn habits that will stick with them for life. Encouraging good hygiene practices involves employees, educators, families, and children.

Many parents may pick a childcare centre based on their abilities to keep their kids safe from infection and sickness. Kids often don’t know how important hygiene is. It is important to use a different method and get positive feedback when teaching a child how to keep themselves clean and stay safe.

What do good hygiene practices consist of?

Hygiene is good for both the child and the people who care for him or her. Hygiene for child care providers means keeping the centre clean, keeping up with personal hygiene to stop the spread of germs, and showing children how to be clean. When kids learn how to be clean in the bathroom, at the dinner table, and in other places, they pick up healthy habits that they will carry with them to kindergarten and beyond.

Good hygiene, however, isn’t just about using hand sanitiser; it’s a way of thinking that applies to all parts of taking care of a child. Hygiene is all the things you do to keep your centre clean, safe, and healthy. Hygiene practices can include things like working out and getting enough sleep.

What are the key hygiene practices to be taught in childcare

The best way to teach a child about the importance of healthy hygiene practices is to show them by example how to behave well. As a role model for kids, make sure you follow your advice about a hygienic environment. A child care centre is a great place for children to develop good habits and for kids to learn from adults how to take care of their bodies.

Take a few minutes once or twice a year to talk about hygiene in your lessons. Make sure you promote good hygiene practices by keeping an eye on each child every day and giving them instructions one-on-one when needed.

Because there are so many ways for germs to spread at a childcare centre, it can’t be said enough how important it is to be clean. Being clean keeps kids, childcare workers, and parents safe, healthy, and happy. Let’s look at some of the most important hygiene practices in childcare.


Kids are still learning where they can put their fingers and are likely to get their hands dirty by doing things that aren’t clean. Encourage frequent hand washing to a child, both to avoid getting sick, to keep the classroom clean and free of sticky messes, and to minimise cross-infection.

Most germs are spread when people touch each other. By thorough handwashing, you can keep your child and other people from getting sick.

Teach every child to wash with soap and water:

  • when hands do not look clean
  • before they eat
  • after touching blood, vomit, or other body fluids
  • after touching animals
  • after they cough, sneeze, or blow their nose
  • after using the bathroom
Mother and daughter washing hands - hygiene practices in childcare

Body washing

Each child’s bathing requirements vary. Active youngsters should bathe daily. Daily bathing may drain some children’s skin of natural oils quicker than they can be replaced, causing dry, itchy skin. In such circumstances, every-other-day showering or a light after-bath lotion may be best.

Regardless of how well small toddlers bathe themselves, an adult must supervise them.

Make sure your child’s washing and drying practices are done on their whole body, including under their arms and in their genital and anal areas, before putting on clothes.

Dental hygiene

Personal hygiene includes oral hygiene. Baby teeth are important, so young children should brush often. Caregivers should instruct young children to brush twice a day and floss once.

Flossing takes fine motor control and children may require assistance for flossing. Pre-flossed holders make flossing simpler for kids. Caregivers may purchase different toothbrushes with cartoon characters that twirl and/or play music. It may work wonders for kids who won’t use a toothbrush for brushing their teeth.

Cough and sneezing etiquette

When coughing or sneezing, use your elbow instead of your hand to cover your nose and mouth. Coughing and sneezing safely may be a fun pastime for kids since it mimics a vampire lifting his cloak when done correctly. The “vampire sneeze” is a fun way to teach children to use their elbows, and they’ll never forget it!

Food hygiene

Handwashing before food preparation and after meals helps children avoid illness and mess. Before preparing food, kids should wash their hands with warm soapy water. Even though food looks and smells okay, it may produce bacteria that make kids ill.

Eating with hands is a typical method for viruses to enter the body or target the immune system. Encouraging children not to lick their fingers while eating is important.

Facial cleanliness

Many diseases and conditions can be avoided or kept under control by keeping good hygiene and washing parts of the face often.

As part of good facial hygiene, wash the face and take care of your teeth, mouth, eyes, contact lenses, and ears. Use soap and clean, running water to clean the face of dirt, oil, and other unwanted things.

Why is it important to encourage good hygiene practices in childcare?

Personal hygiene skills are an important part of taking care of yourself that will help your child live a healthy life with lifelong positive hygiene habits. Good hygiene habits that start when your child is young can help them grow and develop healthily.

EYLF principles learning outcome 3 promote children’s hygiene and encourage children’s health, nutrition, and cleanliness.

With so much physical contact with other people and the environment, there is a chance that children will catch and spread diseases.

Even though child care centres can’t stop the spread of infections, they should work to create a clean environment to stop the spread of disease and illness as much as possible. Children will also learn to be self-sufficient and gain confidence and self-worth through good hygiene practices.

See also creative development in early childhood.

Healthy child - hygiene practices in childcare

Health and safety

The health and well-being of children are promoted by including opportunities for children to learn fundamental hygiene methods. Children get the experience they need to build good hygiene habits for life when they are encouraged to develop self-help abilities while playing.

Social development

Social interactions are also affected by hygiene procedures. Children will learn how to maintain their cleanliness and sanitation if they are taught how to prevent the transmission of germs. Not only can our habits of personal cleanliness affect our health, but also other facets of our lives, such as our capacity to work and our connections with other people.

Read more about child development in childcare.

Boost confidence

Teaching children to practise proper hygiene procedures is one of the best ways to boost their confidence. Healthy hygiene habits start as something that we do for our children in the early years, and then they learn to transition into something that they do for themselves on their own. A child’s confidence may benefit greatly from developing their personal hygiene abilities.

It equips children with the resources necessary to develop their independence and carry out activities on their own. Children acquire the capacity to concentrate more on topics such as developing great connections with their peers when they have an image of themselves that is positive and healthy.

Sense of security

As children become older, the need to maintain strong, positive interactions will only increase. When children have a healthy sense of security, it often translates into higher academic performance for them.

Self-care skills

Self-help skills are also developed through the many routines, rituals and activities that occur throughout the day in a childcare centre.

One component of developing self-care skills is being familiar with appropriate toileting and good hygiene practices. When toddlers exercise these abilities, they also practise other early learning building blocks such as large motor skills and fine motor skills, sensory processing, language understanding, and the capacity to follow simple routines.


Your children will begin to develop a healthier sense of self-esteem as they acquire the skills necessary to adequately care for themselves and become independent. Both their feeling of independence and their ability to aid themselves become more developed as a result of this activity. People have a more positive feeling about themselves when they maintain cleanliness because it makes them feel better about themselves.

Ways to encourage good hygiene practice in childcare

Any childcare centre should prioritise fighting germs and sickness. Children don’t always think about cleanliness and sanitation so schools and care services should teach kids about the need for basic cleanliness and apply diverse healthcare measures.

Kids may learn proper cleanliness from adults through daily routines in a childcare setting. Modelling excellent hygiene methods is the best way to teach a child. As a role model, practise good sanitation. Here are some ways to encourage each child to develop good hygiene habits.

Posters and signs

Posters and lessons are great ways to bring up the importance of cleanliness in the classroom.

Display posters and signs in schoolyards, playgrounds, restrooms, and classrooms. By exhibiting these posters, good hygiene standards may be enforced. Every child should learn correct handwashing, hygiene, toilet flushing, trash disposal, and water use.

Posters with instructions on how to wash your hands and brush your teeth should be put near sinks and toilets so that kids can see them and remember how to stay clean.

You can also include written hygiene policies, nappy changing procedures and other appropriate procedures.


A child will probably understand why handwashing is important if you show them what happens to germs and viruses. Encourage your child to use soap and water to wash their hands through various activities, such as:

  • Show what happens to germs when we wash our hands to highlight the need for handwashing. An example of an activity that teaches what happens when you wash your hands with soap
  • Hand washing to different tunes (Happy Birthday, The Alphabet Song)
  • Wash Your Hands (to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat)
Activities - hygiene practices in childcare

Regularly cleaning

Supervisors and managers must keep play areas clean, and sanitise equipment and toys to avoid the risk of illness and germs.

Equipment and toys are bacterial hotspots. All kids contact dirty surfaces and equipment, particularly after playing with toys or outdoor play areas. Sweaty hands during sports may transmit germs, particularly when a child share equipment (bats, balls, rackets, monkey bars, hula hoops, etc.).

A child may have other engaging hobbies including playing musical instruments, arts and crafts, classroom games, or role-playing might include person-to-person contact, which can transmit diseases and illnesses.

All of these must be cleaned regularly to avoid the spread of infection in the centre.

Practice handwashing

Hand-washing is the simplest and most critical hygiene activity your kid should learn. Explain to the child why this is necessary. You may say, “We wash our hands to get rid of dirt and germs.”

A child will frequently play in the sandpit, handle toys and equipment, or do crafts. They cough and sneeze without covering their mouths/noses, leaving saliva on surfaces. Washing hands helps minimise the risk of cross-infection by stopping the transmission since it should kill germs and bacteria.

Offer hand hygiene solutions for every restroom. Hand sanitisers, soap dispensers, paper towel dispensers, and an automated hand drier may all be put in school restrooms for children’s usage.

A child may be taught to wash their hands with soap (or protective hand cream) and water before or after meals, after using the bathroom, wiping their noses, participating in dirty activities, and playing outdoors.

Kids running about touching everything, sharing crayons, playing with toys, touching furniture, sharing books, and handling food and eating utensils may cause germs and diseases to spread easily in a childcare setting. Due to the high degree of physical interaction in this setting, the risk of infectious diseases may thrive.

While it’s up to parents to teach appropriate cleanliness, the childcare facility should model it to keep everyone healthy and encourage sanitary behaviour. Everyone must employ adequate hygiene to keep the childcare area sanitary.

Hygiene practices may seem like modest daily duties, but they have a life-changing influence on a child and families’ health and welfare.

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