Talking to Children About How to Be Germ Conscious

May 4, 2022 | Children's Health

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Children are more likely to get sick and spread germs than adults because they spend so much time with other children in daycare and school. They are also usually unaware of the small things they can do to prevent the spread of germs and infection.

You can help prevent your child from getting sick or spreading germs by teaching them these five things:

1. Wash your hands for 20 seconds.

The best way to prevent the spread of germs is to wash your hands thoroughly and often. Teach your children to scrub their hands while singing the Happy Birthday song to themselves to ensure they wash properly and for the right amount of time.

2. Encourage them to try to avoid sick people.

It may sound rude but encouraging your child to stay away from obviously sick people can help keep them healthy. Over the last two years children have learned a lot about keeping others’ safe with social distancing and mask wearing, and those same skills can be put to use if they’re around others and not feeling 100%.

3. Don’t eat or drink after others.

Remind your child not to eat or drink after others and to wash their hands before having a meal. Children are curious, so being offered to share a snack with a friend may be appealing. Remind them that to stay healthy they shouldn’t share food or drinks, even if their friend doesn’t seem sick.

4. Sneeze and cough into a tissue, then wash your hands.

Encourage your child to sneeze or cough into a tissue or the crook of their arm when they are sick. Remind them to throw the tissue in the trash immediately and wash their hands after sneezing or coughing.

5. Stay home when you’re feeling sick.

The best way to prevent the spread of germs is to keep a sick child home. If your child is running a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more, keep them home from school and don’t let them visit friends. Explain to your child that the only way to get better is to stay home, rest, and drink a lot of fluids.

Talking about germs and infections may be scary to your child, but it is important that they know how to protect themselves. Remember when speaking to your child about germs and illness, use a calm tone, and answer any questions they may have.

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