Kids sometimes do gross things that shock and appall adults. These cringe-worthy habits are part of the developmental process, but just how bad are they?
Children often stick their fingers up their noses to extract those pesky boogers. Picking your nose can lead to nosebleeds, not to mention all the germs they introduce into the body. You are also likely to find their “treasures” around the house. While kids tend to get sick frequently, during the pandemic it is especially important to minimize the introduction of new illness into the household. Teach your child to blow his nose and always wash hands or use hand sanitizer after.
Many children perform their business in the bathroom and then rush out, often without wiping, flushing, or washing their hands. Not wiping, or not wiping properly from front to back, can greatly increase the risk of unwanted bacteria, causing urinary tract infections (UTIs), itching, or skin irritation.
Leaving treasures in the toilet for other family members to find is unpleasant at best and unhealthy at worst. Not only are germs spread through fecal matter, you may also need to ensure curious pets keep their distance.
Washing hands after using the bathroom is a very important habit to establish early. This helps wash off all the germs from potty time but is also a great opportunity to get in some extra handwashing throughout the day. Teach children to wash with warm water and soap, clean underneath dirty fingernails and up through the wrists, for at least 20 seconds, or the time it takes them to sing the ABC’s. Bonus: good practice learning their letters!
PEEING IN THE POOL
Sometimes swimming is just too fun to stop! A children’s pool party is likely to have at least one kid who won’t get out when nature calls. Urine mixed with pool chlorine can mix together to form chemicals that irritate the eyes, not to mention it can cause damage to metal pool parts. Teach your child how to take a break from the action to heed the call, then return to the fun.
Have you ever been in a dirty public place and you turn around to see your child licking the handrails or crawling on the floor and picking up something she found and putting it in her mouth? Younger children often use their mouths to help explore the world through another type of sensory experience. Viruses and bacteria can live on surfaces for several hours, making this a habit you want to discourage. If you do catch your kid in the act, don’t panic – they are actually more likely to pick up germs from person to person contact.
Some children have a habit of chewing objects such as pencils, shirt collars, finger and toenails, erasers, hair, you name it. While adults find this habit unsavory, it is actually a normal part of development. More often than not, this habit will resolve itself. If the object they are chewing is likely to be dirty or germ infested, you may want to discourage this habit. Otherwise, this is one gross habit that will likely disappear as quickly as it appeared.
While many children’s habits are high on the gross factor list, most of them are a normal part of development. Do your best to teach healthy habits, but just like all other parts of childhood, this phase will soon pass so try not to worry too much.