Ring in this New Year with these easy ways to teach kids the importance of not spreading or catching germs. Always remember the best way to reiterate what you teach your children is by your own actions. What you say and what you do should coincide to keep them striving to repeat the positive actions. Here’s to the health and happiness of your family this new year!
1- Hand Washing 101. Obviously we all try to remember to wash hands as often as possible. Maybe it’s not about hounding the kids to do it but teaching them why we do. An easy way to get your kids attention about the importance of hand washing involves one thing every little girl dreams about…glitter! Let’s be honest, boys would love this as well. Take their little hands and get them damp. Sprinkle glitter on and explain that this represents germs we all acquire as we sneeze, cough, go to the restroom, or touch things throughout the day. Explain how touching our face spreads the germs to areas that they can get inside our body, namely our eyes, nose and mouth. Now using warm water and soap see how long it takes to remove all the glitter. This is how long they should normally be washing hands to remove germs as well.
2 – Head Lice Fears Growing. All across the United States head lice are becoming an even bigger problem than in years past. Super lice, or lice who have gradually developed an immunity to over the counter products, are inflicting elementary schools, day cares, preschools, and even junior high schools and high schools more than ever before in our generation. Teach your kids to NOT share hats, hoodies, helmets, beanies or any clothing that touches the neckline. Teach them to avoid using other people’s hair accessories or sharing theirs with others. Frequent lice head checks are a good way to keep on top of the problem. Also watch for any symptoms like itchy scalps, white lice eggs at the base of the scalp, or red irritated bumps on the scalp.
3 – The Elbow Sneeze, If you Please. What happens when a grown adult sneezes across a room? I’ll tell you what happens! Up to 35 feet of projected snot, saliva and millions of small germs. Take a second to show your children a picture of someone in the act of sneezing. The still photograph of the sneeze can be a great tool in convincing children that sneezes and coughs are actually super gross and should always be covered. Would they want other people to spread around germs like that onto their desks at school or couches at home? I don’t think so. Teach them to politely cover their nose or mouth with their elbow rather than a hand. The hands just get covered in the germs and spread to everything they touch. Which as a parent you know, is pretty much everything at eye level.
4 – Eat Fruits and Vegetables Like You Mean It. Every parent has been known to fight this battle. A few parents have success by hiding vegetables into foods that children don’t suspect. Others use them as a main course covered in sauces such as zucchini and squash noodles for spaghetti. If your kids are super conscientious of eating veggies sometimes these ideas just won’t cut it. Instead of tricking them – try getting them to like them! Try having a fresh veggie and fruit platter out as they arrive home from school. If they are starving they might dive in and realize it’s not so bad. Let them have ranch or hummus to dip veggies into. Try caramel or cool whip for fruits. At the very least they are developing a liking for fresh fruits and veggies. Stop buying processed junk food snacks and having them easy to grab in the pantry.
5 – Fill Up on Aqua. Dehydration is a huge factor in fighting off illness. Our bodies are made up of over 65% water. As tempting as sports drinks, soda, chocolate milk or juices may be for kids their bodies need a lot of plain old water. The general rule for the human body is to drink half as many ounces as you weigh in pounds. So, a child who weighs 80 pounds would need about 40 ounces of water per day. Filling up on water helps to keep our bodies functioning properly and prepares bodies for warding off infections or germs. Get your kids their own cool, decorative water bottle. Monitor how much they are drinking and make sure they are getting enough.