Personal Care

What is Personal Care?

Personal care is a child’s ability to respond and initiate routines for hygiene, feeding and dressing herself. Personal care routines are critical to protect the health and safety of young children (Burger, 2010)

personal care skill description with child washing his hands

Why is Personal Care Important?

As children develop, they explore their bodies, wonder about gender and gain self-care strategies, such as toileting, teeth-brushing and maintaining physical health through diet and exercise. In early childhood, development is supported by proper hygiene, including washing hands, toileting and learning basic measures to prevent the spread of germs.

How Do Children Learn Personal Care Skills Over Time?

Infants receive appropriate healthcare from caregivers and respond when physical needs are not met.

Toddlers recognize the difference between dirty and clean, point to body parts when prompted and participate in taking care of some personal needs, such as feeding themselves.

Preschoolers wash hands, use the toilet and brush their teeth. They describe the function of
basic body parts, follow a routine of rest and active play, and meet most personal needs independently. They will start to explain how germs spread and offer simple strategies for preventing the spread.

Primary schoolers explain the importance of nutrition, exercise and rest in maintaining wellness. With a
few reminders, they demonstrate an ability to maintain personal hygiene independently.
They describe how to deal with health concerns of themselves and others.

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