The very definition of hygiene seems to have changed between the time we were kids and the time we had kids. When we were kids, I washed my hands for a few seconds and I was done. If some kid did this without being told, he was the best kid ever. Today’s children know different. Washing hands includes soap, rubbing the inside and outside of the fingers for a good fifteen seconds, not to forget nails and fingertips. Travelling? They know not to start eating till Mom whips out the hand sanitizer and everyone has got a good squeeze. Going to a public toilet makes the family look like DeCaprio’s crew in the movie Inception.
How did today’s Moms imbibe all these changes and Dads didn't? Remember I'm a dad too so I don't have the answers. What I do know is most of us weren't inculcated with these hygiene habits and we sure haven't inculcated it now. For example, every time we come back into the house, I tell the kids to come with me and wash my hands. However, if I walk in alone, I never wash my hands immediately. The kids can spot these double standards and interpret that this rule is not important. So it is very important for us to change our hygiene habits first.
Once this is done, Dads can focus on making cleanliness and sanitation fun. Isn’t that a Dads secret weapon – making things more fun than Mom? When the kids throw their dirty clothes all over the place, I turn it into a basketball game where they get to dodge me and dunk the clothes in the laundry bin. The same goes for paper cuttings. When it comes to washing hands, we loudly belt out the Dettol Ho song. If one of the kids falls and gets a scrape, the other one knows to run and get some cotton and Dettol antiseptic liquid because that is what Daddy used when he was growing up.
Last but not the least, it’s also important to be a strong back-up for your wife.
· Keep an extra bottle of hand sanitizer in the car in case she forgets to carry one and starts panicking.
· Add some skin protection cream and mosquito repellent to make a complete pack.
· Make an extra effort to keep the house clean so she doesn’t have to pick after you and the kids.
· Reinforce good habits by example such as eating meals at the table without any gadgets around, brushing teeth before sleeping etc.
Who knows, you may see your wife with the look that says – My Hero!