It’s that time of year, back to school and back to germs. Children mix quite closely to each other, both in the classroom and on the playground. Germs can transfer easily in such situations. Most children are not as conscious of personal hygiene as they should be which can increase their risk of falling ill and result in valuable time spent away from the classroom.
According to the CDC the children in elementary school (or primary school) get eight to 12 colds or cases of the flu each year. For the older children this is about half. Teachers and parents commonly refer to it as the ‘Back to School Plague’. Students often pass germs that originated from when they were playing outside or from another student that is ill. There are endless possibilities. As 80% of communicable diseases are transmitted by touch, we know that hands are the main area to focus on to ensure kids stay healthy.
Hand washing is an essential part of good hygiene. To eliminate contracting germs it is important to teach your child how to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water, especially after using the bathroom, and before and after eating. Kids thrive on routine so build the washing hands process into a daily task. This makes it a norm and limits the struggles of having to plead and negotiate with them to wash their hands.
Make hand washing fun and exciting. Children are more likely to wash their hands if they realize how important it is. As germs can’t be seen, or smelled, children may have trouble understanding that hands are dirty even if they look clean. Parents can come up with hand washing games or songs to make washing hands fun, and in doing so, children will more likely wash their hands.
Clean hands are important in controlling the spread of illness, especially during cold and flu seasons. Teach them how to wash their hands after coughing and sneezing, and after touching dirty tissues. Show children how to use a tissue to cover their mouth and nose when they cough or sneeze and teach them to put their used tissues in a bin and wash their hands afterwards.
Helping your child to understand good hygiene will go a long way to helping you and the rest of your family stay healthy.