Create healthy habits today!
In the midst of cold and flu season and all the developing news on the Coronavirus, it’s important to teach kids about personal hygiene, both at home and in the classroom.
At Community Education Research Group in DC, we offer the premier preschool and early education in three convenient locations. Take a moment with us today and learn the best tips at helping kids stay healthy through good personal hygiene habits.
Good Hygiene and the Preschooler
Young kids may not always get it right but it’s important to guide them in good personal hygiene habits, especially because in preschool education, they’re up close and personal with all the other kids, sharing desks, toys, learning tools, chairs, and thus germs!
It’s also important to teach them hygiene etiquette in public to keep them and others healthy.
Hand washing is vital now and at all times to prevent germs from spreading. When discussing hand washing as a part of personal hygiene, reiterate when to do it (after being in public, playing outside, coming home from school, after using the bathroom, before eating, etc.) and how to do it.
The CDC recommends a five-step approach to washing your hands that involves scrubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds before rinsing. At home or in the classroom you can set a timer, or make it a little more memorable by singing a song.
Covering Sneezes and Coughs
One way to watch a crowd peel off in public is from a preschooler who coughs or sneezes without covering! At the end of the day, they may not really understand or make the connection, but it’s important to teach them to do it.
Germs fly and travel far with a cough or sneeze, so teaching them to do this into their elbow or with a tissue over their mouth is helpful.
The bad bugs are readily transmitted through mucous membranes and our eyes, nose, and mouth all have them. Remind your preschooler to avoid touching their face — picking or rubbing their nose, scratching their eyes, or putting their fingers in their mouth.
Resist Close Contact
If there’s one thing preschoolers love, it’s being in everyone’s personal space! As much as this is sweet and endearing, this can subject your child to other illnesses or spread germs to others. So while being close to people isn’t inherently bad, teach them to be more cautious around those who are sick, or if they are sick themselves.
When it comes to hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, touching your face, and avoiding close contact, they all share one common characteristic when teaching kids about personal hygiene — consistency.
The more often you can practice these personal hygiene habits, the more ingrained it will become, thus eventually establishing a routine. To help make things more fun, let’s explore some fun games that help teach kids the importance of healthy personal hygiene.
Healthy Hygiene Games For Kids
Demonstrate to preschoolers how germs spread by covering your hands in washable paint. Tell them how germs represent your hands and go on teaching in the classroom.
Pick up items or touch things to make the paint visible. After five or ten minutes gather them to find all the places the paint touched! Bonus points for putting a little extra paint in your hands and pretending to sneeze or cough onto paper, leaving the paint to splatter!
Sprinkle some fun and colorful sprinkles on damp hands, and allow them to sit for a minute or two. In this time, explain that the sprinkles are germs and that we need to wash them off to prevent illness.
Give them soap and have them wash for 20 seconds or more to remove each and every sprinkle and explain that this is how they need to wash their hands every time.
Create pictures or a slideshow on your tablet of things you need for good hygiene, and have the kids tell you what it is and how it’s used. You could gather pictures of soap, hand sanitizer, tissue, toothbrush, washcloth, etc.
Good Hygiene, Bad Hygiene
Brainstorm and write down on small pieces of paper with your preschoolers, good hygiene habits and bad hygiene habits. Then place all of these examples in a hat, mix them up, and then pull one out one at a time and ask the kids if it’s a good habit or if it’s a bad habit.
Teach Healthy Habits
Beyond teaching personal hygiene, it’s also important to teach kids healthy habits to keep them well.
Talk to your preschoolers about the following:
Healthy eating – Eating healthy foods is just one way we can stay healthy, so talk to your kids about what healthy eating looks like. Good sleep – Adults definitely know the importance of good sleep, but it’s just as vital to our little ones. Sleep steers emotional and physical health, in addition to playing a role in how well they do in school. Identify stress – Kids are experiencing stress and anxiety at younger and younger ages, and stress can impair our immune response. Learn to spot any tell-tale signs of stress and address them accordingly.
Healthy eating – Eating healthy foods is just one way we can stay healthy, so talk to your kids about what healthy eating looks like.
Good sleep – Adults definitely know the importance of good sleep, but it’s just as vital to our little ones. Sleep steers emotional and physical health, in addition to playing a role in how well they do in school.
Identify stress – Kids are experiencing stress and anxiety at younger and younger ages, and stress can impair our immune response. Learn to spot any tell-tale signs of stress and address them accordingly.
Tying it All Together
Personal hygiene and healthy habits all lead to healthy kids, so it’s crucial to be consistent in the personal hygiene and healthy habits you’re teaching them. Make things fun and demonstrate the role of germs by creating fun games they can participate in.
Germs and bacteria will always be a part of life, so the sooner kids know how to protect themselves and others, the healthier we all will be!
Illness Prevention at Community Education Research Group
At Community Education Research Group, health and wellness is a priority! Not only do we help educate kids on personal hygiene, but we’re diligent in prevention by keeping our classrooms healthy and disinfected!
Join us for preschool education at one of our three DC locations — Antioch, Minnesota Ave, and Good Hope Road.