Besides from keeping the kiddos entertained at home around these moments, having them maintain good hygiene is another tricky job.
Reinforcing personal hygiene habits is something very smart to do at all times, but especially during a pandemic.
Children don’t normally consider cleanliness and tidiness a priority, but we can make it a little fun for them. Here are five tips on how we can do it:
Teach Them About Germs
Children from infant through preschool ages have a high sense of exploration. That’s why they go through life touching everything they find on their path or putting it into their mouths.
This exploration is something that you must not take from them, however, you can start making them aware of the germs around them.
Your child can begin by understanding that there are bad bacteria that is the one that makes us sick, but there are also good bacteria inside our bodies and the food we eat that helps us fight the mean bacteria.
If you want to know more about nice germs vs. mean germs, you can go here
Nonetheless, it takes more than nice germs to keep the mean germs away and that is when our friend Mr. Soap comes to play.
If you haven’t tried it yet, there is an amazing, simple experiment you can do by only using water, pepper and hand soap. Link to video below.
I strongly encourage you to try it with your child because they will learn about the importance of hand washing and how it can help repel bad germs.
Have Hand Washing Challenges
There are other activities that you can do with your child to show the importance of hand washing.
If you have glitter at home, pour a considerate amount on your child’s hands and let them rub to cover their whole hands.
Tell them to rinse their hands first and see how many glitter germs they have gotten out their hands. Then, have them wash their hands with soap for at least 20 seconds. Ask them what is different now that they have washed their hands properly (hint: little to no glitter germs on their hands).
You can also draw a mean germ on their hand and challenge them to wash the germ out before the day ends. This will encourage them to wash their hands regularly to get rid of the drawing.
Make sure your child is not allergic to ink and use markers that are gentle on skin.
Wash Their Favorite Songs Away
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommends that when you wash your hands you scrub for at least 20 seconds.
20 seconds sounds like a very short time but maybe not so much in the little ones’ world.
The CDC suggests singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice, but you can always get a bit more creative.
As an example, I downloaded my own poster with the lyrics of a song you’ve probably never heard of:
You can have a different song every day to make hand washing exciting. Your child will be glad to be killing germs with music. Visit the CDC site to know about key times to wash hands.
Give Them Fun Showers and Baths
At times like these, having regular showers or baths are very important, especially if your child plays outside often.
If you have a tub, you can have a fun bubble bath using only water, soap and your child’s favorite toys. Encourage them to see the tub as their own little pool where they can go play or have a relaxing time.
Also, if you have a hose in your patio or garden, you can give them an outside shower. That would end their outside play on a great note.
Create a Personalized Coughing/Sneezing Sleeve
When your child is sick, it’s impossible to control every time they cough or sneeze but, you can make them more aware of where they deposit their germs.
The CDC recommends to cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve if you don’t have tissues around. Coughing or sneezing into your hands is a no-no unless you wash them constantly.
So how can you remind your child to cough into their sleeve? You could help them create their own coughing sleeve.
You would only need to cut off the toe area of a sock, decorate it and have your child wear it as a special sleeve. This will help them remember to use their sleeve to sneeze and cough instead of their hands.
Just have in mind that you’re going to wash this sleeve regularly, so don’t use materials that will fall off the sock or wear out as you wash it.
Teach Them to Protect the Inside from the Outside
Although I wouldn’t recommend to get your child out of the house unless it’s strictly necessary, it’s always important for them to know what to do when getting back home.
You can teach this in a fun way by having a set of “coming back rules” with a checkbox. For every box they check, they will get points and rewards.
The rules can look like these:
It may sound like a difficult thing to control but let your child know they’re being your special heroes and helpers. Let them know they’re helping you protect their home and loved ones from the mean virus.
I hope these tips help you keep your kiddos a little healthier and safer from the mean germs going around. Remember to stay home and try to keep it as fun as you can.