Kids are weird. They’re small, energetic, messy, smelly and just downright, well, weird. When it comes to kid hygiene, it can be a bit of a hassle to try to get them to stay clean, and they tend to do very strange things. Here are a few different weird kid hygiene questions you may or may not actually want the answer to.
When Should My Child Wipe for Themselves?
Potty training is a great achievement, both for the child who is learning how to be more independent and for you as a parent because you don’t have to deal with diapers anymore. Unfortunately, potty training creates a whole new problem — learning how to wipe their own butts. If your child starts toilet training early, chances are you’ll be wiping butts for a lot longer than you anticipated. But when should your child start wiping themselves?
According to the experts, your child should be able to wipe properly by age five, though they should be starting to learn the wiping basics between ages three and four — or really whenever they start potty training. Don’t expect them to get the hang of it right off the bat, though. You’ll still have to check to make sure they’re well wiped until they get enough practice.
Should My Toddler Be Flossing?
Once your toddler gets big enough to hold their own toothbrush, it’s up to you to ensure they’re brushing properly. When do you need to start worrying about flossing?
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According to dentists, they should be flossing as soon as they have two teeth close enough together to touch. Even baby teeth can trap food between them, so as soon as there are places to trap food, you need to start flossing. Most toddlers won’t be able to floss for themselves. If their mouths aren’t big enough to use traditional floss, consider floss picks. They’re easy to use, and most of them have a tasty flavor — making it, hopefully, less of a hassle for your kid to let you stick the flosser in their mouth.
What About the Five-Second Rule?
We all know the five-second rule. Food is safe to eat for up to five seconds after you drop it on the floor, right? We’re all guilty of it, but is it a rule that you should be following with your kids?
It really depends on where you drop the food. On clean tile floors, most dangerous bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella can’t survive because the floors are dry, and these bacteria need moisture to survive. That said, dropping your food on the floor — even for less than five seconds — can result in a transfer of bacteria.
If you can wash the food off, it’s probably safe to eat. If you can’t, it’s probably safer to toss it and start again. There’s not a lot that you can do about your toddler picking their cookie up off the floor, though — don’t stress too much about it. Exposing them to a variety of bacteria just leads to the development of a healthy immune system.
Why Does My Kid’s Butt Smell?
There’s no getting around it. Kids smell, even once you get them out of diapers. They get dirty, sweaty — and they smell. Sometimes, they may even seem to smell more than normal — especially around their butt!
The cause could be a variety of different reasons. If they’re not wiping well enough or not bathing regularly, that could cause an unpleasant smell. The same goes if they’re showering too much or using perfumed soaps. The chemicals in those products can unbalance the chemicals in their skin, causing an offensive smell.
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Even constipation can cause a stinky butt.
If you’ve addressed wiping, bathing and bowel movements, but it’s still a problem, consider scheduling an appointment with your child’s pediatrician just to rule out any other causes.
How Do I Clean My Toddlers Ears?
If your ear feels clogged, what is the first thing that you do? You probably reach for a cotton swab and clean out your ear, right? This isn’t something that you should do for your children, though. The rule of thumb — or rule of elbow in this case — is that nothing smaller than your elbow should go into your kid’s ear.
Don’t toss out those cotton swabs just yet, however. They’re useful for cleaning your child’s outer ear — just don’t put them into their ear canals. If they have a lot of wax buildup that is visible or uncomfortable, put a couple of drops of room temperature mineral oil or olive oil in their ear. Let them lie down for a few minutes, and when they sit up the wax should start moving out of the ear canal.
Hopefully these helped you answer the questions you didn’t even know you wanted to ask — or provided you with some answers you probably didn’t actually want. Either way, now you know more about your toddler’s weird hygiene issues, and it will probably come in handy someday.