Being able to keep themselves clean, wash their own hands and use the toilet on their own are things that children should be able to do before their first day at school. 

Good hygiene

Hygiene is such an important skill for children to learn, especially before they start school.  There are lots of things you can do to help your children understand about keeping themselves clean and healthy.

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1. Share books with your child to introduce the idea of hygiene and caring for your body.

2. Make a ‘body care’ prop box or bag to reflect what is used in your family. This could be made with your child using props from around your home. For example, soap and flannel; empty plastic shampoo and shower gel bottles; shower cap and towel. Use this to role play and talk about hygiene. You could extend this by making a teeth or dentist role play box or bag. For example, include; books, toothbrush and toothpaste, small torch, apron/white coat, pictures of x-rays of teeth, dentist’s numbering teeth diagram (from internet), posters, magazines (for waiting room), reward stickers.

3. Try using an interactive computer activity on hand washing.

4. Use the doll’s bath, potty or sponge to bathe dolls or soft toys.

5. Make a simple personalised book about hygiene and body care with the child.  (See our readng and writing page for instructions)

6. Draw and write about different parts of the body with your child. Use this activity as an opportunity to start a discussion about how and why we keep parts of our body clean. Or, you could make lollipop stick puppets of parts of the body.

Using the toilet


There are loads of ways to make potty or toilet training fun.  It is important that you child feels confident they can go to the toilet on their own before they start school. There are lots of things you can do to help them learn how before their first day.

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Encouragement, positive language, praise and patience are essential when toilet training. All children will be “ready” at different stages in their development. You may notice your child showing signs of needing the toilet or recognising the feeling of needing the toilet. It is important to be led by your child and not expect them to get it right straight away – there will be little accidents!

Some activities you can try:
1. Share books with your child as a way to introduce the topic of toilet training.

2. Let them play with their potty. It can be a hat; they can make a cake in it or store their favourite toys. Let them use their imagination; what is important is that they become familiar with it before using it.

3. Use a favourite doll or teddy and pretend they are using the potty.

4. Let your child try on some pants. Talk about when they are ‘dry’ and that they won’t need nappies and will be able to wear pants every day. You could let your child choose pants with their favourite character or colour.

5. Let your child replace the toilet roll and then use the empty roll to make a set of binoculars. Paint them different colours or print with them.

6. Put a sticky label on the potty with your child’s name on so they can see that it belongs to them

7. Help them to make a sign for the toilet door.

8. Use a progress /reward chart.