In my busy house it feels like there are two seasons; summer and sickness. Ironically I have a cold right now that my daycare newbie has thoughtfully shared. In our large family germs are bound to get us but I still try to be proactive and minimize them the best I can. Kids don’t seem to understand how germs spread, especially since they can’t see them. I am honestly scared to touch my kids when they come in the house from daycare/school. I don’t consider myself a complete germ-a-phobe but I definitely hate being sick and try to be vigilant about keeping germs out! Sometimes kids go out while they’re really sick, and some don’t know they are sick yet. All we can do as parents is teach and reinforce to our kids the importance of healthy hygiene habits. Here are my 5 best tips to keeping the germs away and out of the house.
Wash kids’ hands properly and often
Teaching our kids to properly wash their hands is the best defense in keeping germs at a minimum. This is especially true before each meal and snack, when they use the washroom and when they walk in the house. If your kids are like mine and I am not watching them they attempt to give a two-second water rinse, actually I’m not even sure they even turn on the water. They shout “I washed them” but when I say “let me smell them” they turn around and go wash their hands.
I try to have them wash their hands when I pick them up from daycare/school before we leave. I also keep hand sanitizer on me when the sink is not available. (I read conflicting things about sanitizer use but it has to be better than nothing.) Anytime someone walks in our house I am that nagging mom, who says “wash your hands please” before they have taken off their shoes. We should all wash our hands with soap and any temperature water for at least 20 seconds. Since kids can’t tell time I have my kids sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star while they wash. Don’t forget to change the towels often.
Teach them how germs spread
When out driving before we get out of the car, along with the shpiel of “if you don’t behave we are going home” I also throw in “keep your hands out of your mouth, eyes, and noses.” As well as “stay away from kids who are coughing or have booger noses.” I explain briefly how germs are spread and can get into their bodies. I give examples like “if Donnie wipes his boogers on his hands and then touches the toys, when you touch the toys you touch his booger germs too. Then when you touch your mouth you eat some of his boogers. Then you may get sick.” Any story you pick, the grosser the better I find makes them listen and remember. My 5 year old has begun understanding germs but I can’t wait for my younger boys to catch on.
Teach them to cover their mouths when they cough and sneeze
From toddler age I start teaching my kids how to cover their mouths when they sneeze and cough. Kids are the best role models for other kids. If we teach our kids how to cover their mouths properly hopefully their peers will catch on too. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing but there’s a good chance Little Momma may tell others to please cover their mouths. I am all over them teaching them to cough and sneeze into their arms and not their hands, and spreading more by touch. I tell them to keep their germs to themselves. Selfishly, because I know if they are sick I am likely next.
Take shoes off at the door
This goes for the whole family. Shoes off at the door. I don’t know about your house but in mine someone is always running back in to grab something with their germy shoe soles tracking gosh knows what around the house. My little guy is now walking but I used to cringe by the thought of what his hands touched on the floor alone. Even still the kids play on the floor and shoes in the house is just gross.
Sanitize, Sanitize, Sanitize!
This is a big one take out those Lysol wipes and clean door knobs, the fridge handle, light switches, railings, even the doorbell. Any commonly shared spots, wipe them down! Even the kid’s tablets and our cell phones need a regular clean. Just imagine what is on our phones. I confess to taking mine to the washroom with me, it’s the only place I can run and try to hide.
Germs and sickness are everywhere unfortunately and cannot be avoided but we can definitely try to teach our kids how to avoid sickness and to be responsible when they are sick. Don’t forget to toss or clean your toothbrushes regularly. Baking soda and hot water will do the trick. With 3 little kids in school/daycare and one big one in university, we are bound to get sick. All I do is try to minimize it. My kids don’t like to share anything except germs, they share those. All we can do is teach our kids the best we can how germs spread and to leave their germs outside and hope for a good sickness season. I hope my 5 best tips will help your family keep germs out!
My Little Momma has made a video for you to watch and share with your children. It is on the proper way to wash our hands. We made seeing germs possible and fun. Kids love to experiment. I did this with my eldest when she was young. However, I told her to wash her hands first and timed her. Her 2-second rinse didn’t get the germs off her hands. She then understood that it takes more than 2 seconds to clean them off properly. Enjoy the video!