Teaching kids to always be clean.
Does it seem like your little one is always running around with a runny nose? Or a sore throat? Or a chronic cough? There’s a simple reason why. Kids love to habg out (and touch and share toys) with other kids–other kids with runny noses, sore throats and coughs. This close contact allows germs to pass back and forth from one child to another (no backs, no takes, finders keepers). What’s more, kids use their hands to explore their world (not to mention explore their noses). And babies go one step farther, using their mouths to explore just as much as their hands. Since hand-to-mouth transmission is a virus’s favorite way of getting around, it’s no wonder germs are having a field day with your children. And once you factor in their less mature immune system–and the fact that children are by nature hygienically challenged–you’ve got the perfect set-up for the frequent cold program.
So what’s a mother or father to do? Following your child around with a disinfecting wipe 24/7 obviously isn’t practical (kids move too fast) and could definitely cramp his or her style–and yours. A more sensible approach and a more effective one: Enlist your offspring in the fight against germs. Teach your little ones the association between germs and the icky sick feeling they don’t like, and they’ll start to understand the benefits of cleaning up their acts (and washing their hands). Here are a few hygiene lessons that even toddlers can comprehend–and hopefully, comply with.
Wash up. Teach your kids to wash their hands after they go to the bathroom, after they come in from playing, before and after they eat, after they’ve been in contact with an animal, and after they’ve sneezed or coughed. No soap and water around? Alcohol-based disposable hand wipes, gel or spray sanitizers can be just as effective (just make sure you’re supervising your kids when they use it).
Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. But instead of telling children to sneeze or cough into their hands (Hands they’ll promptly use to pass along the germs they just expelled), teach them to use the inside of their elbow. Or better yet, hand them a tissue to use.
Throw tissues away. Whether they’ve used a tissue to sneeze into, blow their nose or wipe their mouth, keeping that tissue in circulation will keep germs circulating. Teach kids, instead, to toss tissues in the garbage after each use–and then to wash their hands before touching anything, or anyone.
Avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes as much as possible. Even when there are slim pickings, kids love to pick their noses, arm them with the best reason for kicking the picking habit. Explain to them that any time they stick their fingers in their noses (or mouths or eyes), they’re giving yucky germs a ride inside–and a chance to land, multiply and make them sick.
Published in: Family