Thoughts From The Nanny…Healthy Hygiene!

My sweet daughter, Kaite, is a much sought after nanny and pre-school teacher. Her observations regarding her young charges and their home lives have always caused me to stop and consider my own homemaking and parenting priorities.Sometimes, her observations have been a much needed wake-up call for change!


Here is part 3 of her blogs on healthy living with children. I think you’ll find lots of food for thought.

Healthy Living Part 3

“Go brush your hair.”

“Wow this room looks clean, I’m so proud of you!”

“Ugh, this room is a mess, time to get to work!”

“Chore time, if we all work together it will get done faster!”

“Quiet time, do you want to listen to quiet time music, or a book?” “Reading time!” “Art time!” “Bath time!” “Bed time!”

All of these are phrases are phrases it seems as though I utter all the time! But for this, my third blog, I am going to write about hygiene.

The level of a child’s personal hygiene always has a context of time and activity.

There is a time and place to be a mess!

If all your children are playing outside, it’s inevitable that they will find some or all of the following: mud, grass, dirt, mud, puddles, leaves, mud, chalk, sand, mudmud pies, mud soup, mud cake, mud castles, mud towers, and basically anything muddy!

It’s fine to get messy or be dirty, especially when they are playing outside. However, just as there is a time to be carefree and messy, there is also a time to be clean and tidy.

I worked in a daycare for a time, and I was appalled at the general lack of hygiene! I had 10 kids in my class and only one would arrive to class with her hair done and face clean. Most of the other kids came in looking like they had just rolled out of bed. Hair a mess, food on their face, stained and wrinkled clothes… smelly.

The teacher prior to me had quit because the kids were so rowdy and out of control. She was pulling her hair out in frustration!

I knew the kids weren’t happy with such an out-of-control environment and I determined to make changes…and fast!

One of the first changes I made began with the purchase of hair ties, combs, and wet wipes.

As the kids walked into my classroom, I would send them to retrieve their own comb, and then to brush their hair. After they had combed their own hair, for the girls it was my time to take over. I would do their hair in a “fancy braid” or pull it back off of their face.




With hair tidied, I would then send them off to the washroom for step #2. I instructed the children in the proper washing of their hands and face. After they completed this task, they were free to join their classmates.

The behavior in the classroom changed immediately!

Instead of yelling and running, the children were calm and controlled. All of the parents noticed a difference in the classroom environment. They also noticed a change in their children’s behavior at home.

Sadly, most of the parents told me that they just weren’t able to brush their child’s hair at home.

They claimed that the children cried and said it hurt.

They complained that the children would fight them.

They admitted that the children threw temper tantrums.

They rationalized that it was just easier to Let.Them.Be.

Wow! Honestly parents, those just aren’t good excuses to let your child look like a tangled, dirty mess!

You wouldn’t walk out with your hair like that, would you? Remember, part of your job is to instill good habits in your kids’ lives!

Trust me, it may take some work, but You Can Do This Thing!

To help with the process, make sure you’re using the right tools.

Imagine going to the hair salon and your stylist just started yanking a brush through your hair, ripping out the knots. Then, she roughly pulled your hair back, fastening it so tightly your face felt stretched!

Would you go back there? Would you enjoy your experience? Would you tip her???

Or, would you complain to the manager? Your poor kids don’t have a manager with whom they can lodge complaints! 

I am a firm believer in detangling spray. It doesn’t have to be expensive! The cheap stuff works just as well as the expensive stuff, but it does help to eliminate knots!


Also, oval brushes with the stiff bristles and rounded edges, work in all hair types. I find that they pull less than the brushes with straight, wire bristles.

Take some time to make your little girl’s hairstyles fun! Braids, flipped ponytails, pigtails, ponytails, fancy braids, etc. are all of hairstyles that will keep their hair out of their face. Honestly, the hairstyles aren’t that had to learn, they just take practice. (Note from Megan…If I could learn to do these hairstyles…Trust me…Anyone can learn!)


In every household where I’ve been the nanny, the parents have asked me to help with the children’s hair. Some parents brushed their kids hair… some didn’t.

Please, do your kids a favor and brush their hair!

I’m positive you’ll see a change in the children’s behavior and in the general peacefulness of your home. When they children feel tidy and well cared for they just behave better!

As to showering and clean clothes, I hope those speak for themselves!

Consider how many times a week your kids shower or bathe. Once a week?  Twice a week? Everyday? Just on Saturday night to get ready for church on Sunday?

Is Sunday the only day of the week that your children smell clean and wear clean clothes? Is Sunday the only day you care about their hair and appearance??

Bathing your children regularly will not only help them to smell good, but it will also help them to develop good habits for the years they are going through puberty!

When you incorporate a soothing bath into your nightly routine it really helps to calm everyone down for bed.


Habits of good hygiene will provide countless benefits for your children. They will be more self-confident. They will learn how to respect others by how they care for their own body. They will feel comfortable in their own skin!

It’s worth the work!

Help your children while they are young. Instruct them as they mature. And, praise their consistent characterization of good hygiene and others-oriented self-care when they are young adults!

You’ll all reap the benefits.