Healthy Habits = Healthy Kids
Cold and flu season is here, along with an unwelcome newcomer, the Coronavirus (COVID-19). As a pediatric occupational therapist, one of my roles is to teach children about proper hygiene as part of a good self-care routine.
It’s especially important to teach kids good hygiene habits so they can be as safe and healthy as possible, especially when they’re not being monitored and making their own choices at school and in the community.
Here are 7 tips that make keeping clean… easy, fun and even a bit entertaining.
1. Hand Washing Helpers: Hand washing is one of the most important methods to stop the spread of germs and prevent kids from getting sick. Here are some tips to make hand washing fun while teaching your child a life-long healthy habit.
- Use fun soap containers or scented soaps
- Wash your hands as soon as you get home.
- Create a “waterfall” by attaching a faucet extender so small children can reach the water easier. Amazon has cute animal faucet extenders to make washing hands more accessible and fun.
- My favorite 20 second songs for kids are “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “Happy Birthday To You” (Keep on reading for the zoo version lyrics at the end of the post). Repeat each verse twice.
- Take a bath or shower everyday AFTER being out in public.
- Check out the FREE downloadable hand washing printables at the end of this post.
2. Pack Your Bags: Be sure to keep duplicates of these mini but mighty illness prevention tools in your purse, bag, child’s backpack and the car.
- Mini Kleenex packs
- Purse size hand sanitizer or spray
- Anti-bacterial wipes for hands/ faces
- Wipes to clean your phone
3. Avoid Touching Potentially Contaminated Surfaces:
- Sanitize and wipe down surfaces with anti-bacterial wipes on a regular basis.
- Instead of using your bare hands to turn off the water faucet use a paper towel.
- Use some TP to flush the toilet so you’re not touching the handle.
- Use a paper towel or your sleeve to open door handles.
- Instead of poking the elevator buttons with your bare fingers, use your elbow or a knuckle instead.
4. Dangerous Droplets: Wear a scarf to cover your nose and mouth if someone around you is coughing or sneezing. This multi-purpose accessory is especially handy to wear on an airplane if you need to quickly cover up your face. If you’re sick, then you should definitely wear a mask to prevent droplets from your cough or sneeze infecting those around you.
- If you have to cough or sneeze, help reduce the spread of germy droplets by turning away from others around you, covering with a tissue or using your sleeve if you don’t have a tissue. Best not to sneeze or cough directly into your hands.
5. Say “No” To Nose Picking: Have you every caught a kid in the cringe worthy act of nose picking or worse? Unfortunately, it’s a habit that sometimes goes unchecked. So, if you catch a nose picker, be sure to redirect them by offering a tissue then have them wash their hands or sanitize. Besides being a gross habit, there’s also social consequences because it’s a surefire way to repel any potential new friends. You can also simply explain why it’s not an acceptable behavior, “We don’t do that. That can make you sick.”
6. Be Sensible About Your Outings: Try to prevent your kids from “jumping into germs” by avoiding play in bouncy houses or other crowded play areas. During cold and flu season, it’s better to stay outside in the fresh air or in your own backyard.
7. Keep A Sense Of Humor and Healthy Habits All Year Round: While it’s super important to take healthy hygiene habits seriously, I can’t resist sharing some silliness and some FREE resources with you below.
Wishing you a healthy and happy season!
A: You put a boogie in it.