Physical care is very important both in a nursery setting and at home when children are being cared for by a child minder. It not only helps reduce the risk of infection but also teaches children how to care for themselves in the future. Having a care routine that also has an educational aspect can make the task of cleaning and caring for themselves more exciting and enjoyable, this would then encourage children to have a positive attitude towards physical care.

There are numerous areas in which a practitioner needs to have the correct equipment and routine in order to care for a child hygienically and correctly. For example, nappy changing, which Is essential in order to prevent infections and skin problems in babies and toddlers. Items like gloves, aprons and other personal protective equipment should be worn at all times during nappy changing to prevent the spread of germs and infections. After each child has been changed the nappy must be disposed of in the correct waste bin and the bag to be discarded of at the end of each day, or at the end of that nappy changing session. During nappy changing keeping the area clean and tidy is very important to stop the spread of germs from child to child, which is why service area must be wiped and cleaned after each use. When changing a child, it is important to use soft damp wipes designed for the use on children to prevent any discomfort or irritation, then if the parents have asked the practitioner to use a barrier cream or nappy rash cream after each nappy change then the practitioner must do this and document it in the child’s diary.
In my nursery setting I found It very helpful to watch the more qualified practitioners change the children before I attempted it. I learned that talking to the children and engaging them with songs or questions about nappy time help the task run smoothly and help educate the child about what was happening. For example, asking the child what the potty is used for and talking about potty training can help that child progress on to potty training in a fun and educational way.

When a child moves on from nappies and begins toilet or potty training, it is the role of the practitioner to support this and to provide activities and information about the bathroom and about bladder and bowel urges to each child. During this change children can be very sensitive about coming out of nappies and possibly having accidents, which can cause children to have a negative opinion of using the children. Having a calm and supportive approach can allow the child to progress at their own pace and make the whole situation more enjoyable. Allowing children to do this at their own rate can give them a sense of independence and can encourage them to try using the toilet alone. A practitioner should have an ongoing partnership with the parents and careers in order to decide when a child is ready to start toilet training. As each child is different there are a few things to look out for to indicate a child might be ready. For example, whether a child has enough communication skills, if a child can undress and dress themselves correctly, whether a child is aware of bladder and bowel urges and also if a child has dry nappy spells from 1 to 2 hours in the day. As well as this it is important to be aware of if a child is at the right age in which their bladder had matured enough to have control. Looking at these signs and judging when a child is ready can prevent a child from having lots of accidents and scaring them from trying to toilet train.

During nursery it is the role of the practitioner to keep the hands and faces of children clean in order to keep them from infections or skin problems. It is particularly important to keep their hands clean after going outdoors or touching animals, because children like to explore and touch things that are unusual, for example insects and mud. Before touching or eating food and after blowing their noses are also times in which practitioners should be keeping children’s hands clean. Germs are most easily spread through touching and children do not understand how infections are spread at a young age, which is why it is the role of the practitioner to educate children about this and to keep their hands clean.

When washing a child’s face, it is important to use a soft cloth in downward strokes to reduce discomfort or skin irritation. The practitioner should try and make the experience as enjoyable as possible by singing or counting 1,2,3 whilst wiping. This will allow the child to get used to the routine of having their face wiped. Whilst the practitioner should always make sure a child is clean, it is important to let the child clean their own hands and face at the earliest time possible. This will encourage children to keep clean and to wash themselves properly in the future. The practitioner should create games or rhymes to encourage children to wash up, for example, asking children where their nose, mouth and eyes are, then asking them to wipe each one can engage the children and encourage them to do it independently later on.

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