Posted by Naomi Nessim, August 29, 2017 (last updated on July 22, 2019)
Kids know to wash their hands. But so do adults, and that doesn’t change the all too common occurrence where we notice somebody leaving the bathroom without washing their hands. What’s the takeaway here? That despite knowledge and ease, there is a gap between what we know to be a true about germs and we collectively do reduce them.
When dealing with children, there is a fine line to walk in educating them about germs and the importance of proper hygiene, without scaring them or depicting the world as a threatening place.
How to Tell Kids About Hygiene
For starters, give them the basics as they aren't very scary:
- We are bacteria. We have 10x more bacteria than we do human cells.
- Bacteria and germs keep us healthy and humans and germs have always had a symbiotic relationship. Germs comprise our microbiome and our microbiome keeps us healthy in many many ways.
How Should I Improve My Kids Hygiene?
So now that you and your family understand the positives in germs, you can refocus your energy towards simple precautions to keep germs at bay in daily life.
- Get vaccinated: vaccines have trace amounts of germs in them so that your body can naturally build up the antibodies to destroy the germs.
- Stay home when you’re sick: easy enough. When you are sick, your body is especially weak and unable to best fight new viruses and germs. Counter this by staying at home and focussing on getting better.
- Cover your mouth and nose: cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue. If that’s not possible, sneeze into your inner elbow and then wash your hands and arm afterwards.
- Wash your hands correctly: wet your hand with clean water, turn off the water, and apply soap. Lather and scrub your hands for 20+ seconds. Don’t forget in between your fingers, under your nails, and on the back of your hands.
- Keep your hands off your face: your fingers and hands are in contact with doorknobs, handrails, keyboards, money, and all sorts of other surface areas and objects. When we touch our face, we are spreading those viruses to our face and giving them a great chance of entering our system!
- Disinfect areas and objects because you’ll never believe what they’re covered with:
- your children’s pens, pencils and markers
- cell phones
- remote controls
- computer keyboards
- door knobs
- hand rails
- refrigerator handles
- light switches
Most importantly, kids learn from what they see. Model proper germ protocol and try to keep your cool when containing germs is beyond your control. Here are some more immunity boosting tips to help fight school yard germs.
While you can never completely safeguard your kids against germs, these tips will help your chances. In the unfortunate event that you or your kid catches a cold or a flu, you can quickly make a same day doctor appointment on Solv.