Support Physical Care Routines for Children

“Children learn best when they are healthy, safe and secure, when their individual needs are met…” (3.1 Statutory Framework for the early years foundation stage, April, 2017.)

At The Nest Early Years Practitioners help promote good physical care during Nappy Changing by:

Following the setting’s Intimate care policy and nappy changing policy and procedures.

This states that all staff will undertake their duties in a professional manner, recognising that children must be treated with respect when intimate care is given. Where possible the child’s key person will change nappies and ensure the child’s plan is adhered to, this includes any nappy area creams to be used, what brand of nappy and wipes to be used. Parents are asked about their child’s care routine during the induction process, it is important for parent partnerships at this time as the child could be allergic to certain creams and brands of nappies.

Only staff who hold an up to date DBS check and have had the appropriate training will carry out nappy changing. Staff are trained in Safeguarding and will report any concerns about the child or colleagues without delay to the designated safeguarding lead.

Practitioners ask the child if they need changing and make sure they are not ‘grabbed up’ or taken away from their play. Always tell the child what is about to happen, sometimes the child is unwilling, however say you will come back in a short while.

Frequent nappy changes help to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses as well as helping to prevent children from getting skin infections. Babies and toddlers left in nappies that are soiled or wet for a long period start to develop skin irritations such as nappy rash. Nappy rash in severe cases may cause the child distress.

Early Years Practitioners have to remember infection control and have aprons and gloves available for changes along with paper roll to put on the changing mat. Hands must be washed after each nappy change along with the childs The nappy is disposed of correctly in a nappy sack and the correct bin, the mat is cleaned with the appropriate spray.

Changing a babies nappy is a time to bond and interact, this is also a learning opportunity. This can be done by singing and talking to the child which supports language development or giving them something to hold so they feel part of the process.

Toilet Training:

Parents and practitioners will work together when toilet training, looking out for signs the child is ready, for example the nappy is dry for periods of one to two hours, the child is aware when they are urinating or passing stools.

The role of an Early Years Practitioner during toilet training is to show the children where the toilet or potty is and to let the children use the potty or toilet independently. The practitioner should also stay calm and to not make the child feel like they have done wrong if they have an accident this can make them nervous to tell an adult when the have had an accident and possibly cause more accidents.

Soiled clothes will be bagged and sent home with the child’s parents.


Most Early Years setting will only need to keep children’s faces and hands clean.

However if a child has soiled them self they will need cleaning up with the use of a flannel with soap and water.

It is important to wash hands before meals, after toileting, when coming in from outside, after blowing their nose, after handling animals, and after painting or messy activities Soap and hand towels are provided.

Children soon learn to take part in their own self care and learn the routine of washing hands.

It is important to keep the child safe from scalding themselves, the nest setting has thermostatic taps.

Care of skin, teeth and hair:

The Nest has a cup policy which states “ children are encouraged to drink from a cup, as children do not start with us until they are one years old we will not be using feeding bottles with teats…..” ( yates J, Nursery policy on cups, 2018).

There is evidence that using a cup rather than a bottle with a teat is better for, dental health, speech development and reduces the risk of using a teat as a comforter.

The role of the adult in an Early Years Settings must think about the food they are giving the children and whether it could cause tooth decay. Foods and drinks that are high in sugar are not suitable for children’s teeth and can cause a lot of issues with the teeth developing underneath the milk teeth. Children at the setting will be learning about oral health with the uses of book and resources.

Children’s skin is very sensitive, some more than others. Children may have eczema, so parents will give information on how to take care of their child’s skin. During times when it is most inflamed, parents will give the setting the appropriate creams to use and tell the staff in the setting when to apply the cream. This will however will be recorded.

Babies might drool a lot and get a rash on their chin and neck. Noses tend to run more during the winter so may become sore. To help prevent this you must correspond with the family to ask what is the appropriate solution, maybe a barrier cream.

Children’s skin in the summer is also prone to injury and long term damage that is why it is important to make sure that babies, toddlers and children only have limited exposure and wear appropriate clothing and accessories such as hats. Shade is provided. children have sunscreen applied and no exposure during the hottest part of the day. Parents permission will need to be gained before applying any creams.

A lot of early years settings won’t need to fully take care of children’s hair but the will need to look out for head lice.

Head lice are very common in children since children spend a lot of time close to each other therefore it is easy for the lice to transfer from one head to another.
Signs of a head lice infestation include: Itchiness of the scalp
Scabs or blood on the scalp where it’s been bitten
Seeing the head louse or lice moving around in the hair
White bits in the hair that do not move if they are attempted to be removed these are the
empty eggs that are called ‘nits’.
It is important to tell parents confidentially and inform other parents, this can be done discreetly

Meal Times:

Meal times are a social occasion as well as ensuring that children are given food that is nutritious and enjoyable.

Encouragement may be needed to support the use of cutlery and for children to try new foods. Children learn independence by serving themselves and pouring their own water from a jug, this also supports fine motor skills.

Give the children praise as they attempt to try the food by themselves and talk about where the food came from. This supports communication and language development. The colours of foods can also be discussed. Help to give children a healthy attitude towards food.

The role of the adult is important during meal times as the adult is there to also supervise the children, to look out for reactions to food or choking. All staff have paediatric first aid.

To also promote the health and wellbeing of children it is important to work together with families to ensure that if children have any allergies or intolerances the setting is kept informed with any changes to a child’s condition, there can also be religious or cultural reasons as to why some children might be allowed certain foods.

Helpful supportive practitioners should value routines as a time of learning, letting children take part and help make decisions.


DFE ( 2017) Early Years Foundation Stage Framework ( EYFS)

Tassoni, P (2019) Early Years Educator, Hodder Education.

Lindon, J ( 2000) Good Habits learning through routines, Nursery World (accessed, September, 2019).

Yates, J ( 2015) “Intimate care and nappy changing “ policy, The Nest Day Nursery Ltd.

Yates, J ( 2018) “Food and drink” policy, The Nest Day Nursery Ltd.

Yates, J ( 2018) “ Cup” policy, The Nest Day Nursery Ltd.

Yates, A, 2019.
©the nest day nursery ltd.