Cold and flu season is upon us, and at this time of year, young children can spread germs to their peers quickly. Your child will learn good hygiene practices at preschool, but working on these habits at home can help reinforce the lessons learned in school. Working with your child to keep hands clean and germs contained can help keep your child and your child's classmates healthy throughout the winter.
Practice Good Hand Washing
Many preschoolers don't spend as much time washing their hands as they should. Some children even skip handwashing when their parents aren't watching. This is the time to instill your child with good handwashing practices. Teaching your child to wash hands thoroughly and how important it is to wash hands can help you protect your child from colds and the flu.
Teach Your Child Good Technique
Show your child step by step how to wet their hands, lather with soap, and rinse. You may encourage your child to use warm water, but take care to ensure that your child understands how to produce warm water and how to avoid scalding from hot water. Some preschoolers may be able to master the ability to turn on warm water, while others may not. You'll have to decide what your child can and can't handle.
Help Your Child Time the Experience
Teach your child a song to sing when washing their hands so that they will know about how long handwashing should take. Singing the alphabet song is a good way to time handwashing, but you can have your child sing just about any song they know that lasts between 15 and 20 seconds.
Check Up Periodically to Ensure Hand Washing Is Happening
Lots of kids will say they washed their hands when this isn't quite true. Check up on your child's handwashing habits periodically to ensure that your child is washing hands the way they were taught. You can either feel their hands after they go to the bathroom to check for moisture, or you can walk by the bathroom and pop your head in just to see that your child is doing the right thing.
If you're concerned that your child isn't washing their hands after going to the bathroom, have a talk with your child about the importance of washing hands. To be on the safe side, have your child wash their hands before eating. Make washing hands a prerequisite for eating all food, including treats.
Teach Good Bathing
Your preschooler is in the process of learning to bathe themselves. You probably give them their baths now, but soon enough, they'll be bathing themselves on their own. Teaching your child the importance of good bathing habits and how to clean their body thoroughly can help them eliminate germs and stop the spread of germs at school.
Show your child how to lather up all the different parts of the body with a bar of soap. Give your child a brush that can clean under the nails, and show your child how to remove dirt from under the nails using that brush.
Teach Your Child to Cover When Coughing
You may have taught your child how to cover their mouth when coughing, but did you mention that they should cough into the crook of their elbow? While you're at it, show your child how to wipe a runny nose with a tissue. Don't let your child wipe their nose with their fingers or the back of their hand.
These habits and others can help keep your child safe from germs when around other children. For more information about how you can stop the spread of germs at school, talk to your child's preschool teacher. For more information, contact Riviera Children's Center. We'll be happy to answer your questions.