As we get back to school shopping finished (or in some cases just started) our kiddos are all set to return to school, regular bedtimes and the school time schedules. Typically, when our little ones return to school they end up bringing home more than homework with them. We see runny noses, coughs and sometimes the flu likes to sneak in. Here are some back to school hygiene tips to help keep those germs at bay.
The number one way to prevent the spread of communicable diseases (viruses spread from person to person) is to practice proper hand washing. Little ones need guidance with this activity, I know when I send earnest boy to wash his hands on his own, he returns with dripping wet hands that still have dirt on them. To start, be sure that they can reach the sink using a stepping stool or kids step, then use soaps that are easy for children to use such as pumps (my littles love the foaming dispensers), lastly come up with a way to ensure they are washing their hands for at least 30 seconds (many like to sing Happy Birthday or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star while they wash). Hands should be washed often and always after using the restroom, before and after handling food, when coming in from outside and after blows/picks nose, after coughing or sneezing, and anytime a child has handled trash. If there are no sinks around, baby wipes and hand sanitizers can act as great substitutes although I would recommend avoiding hand sanitizers that use antibacterial additives or alcohol (some natural hand sanitizers can be purchased from brands like Babyganics, The Honest Company and CleanWell).
Teaching children to cough and sneeze into their elbows can dramatically reduce the spread of germs, especially when children are playing on their own they usually do not stop playing to wash their hands. This technique can be helpful when hand washing is forgotten.
As parents, we can reduce the spread of germs by disinfecting common surfaces at home such as door knobs, key boards, sink and toilet handles, fridge and cupboard handles and tablet/phone screens. I like to keep helpful cleaning tools like Seventh Generation disinfecting wipes around for quick wipe ups behind kids as they run through.
Lastly, leave shoes at the door. We walk our shoes all around town, on surfaces we would not put our bare feet such as public bathrooms and gas stations, so why would we want to walk what our shoes pick up out there all through our homes? Plus, kids step on the worse things would out ever knowing. Stop kids and company at the door and have them remove their shoes, have a mat outside door to help knock off most dirt before entering your home. I try to offer socks to those who are bare foot in their shoes just in case they are uncomfortable having their bare feet out or on my floors.
I earnestly hope these tips can help us all keep the back to school germs away, and keep our families healthy this school year. Also, remember to keep sick kids home. If your child is showing signs of infection such as fever, green mucus or vomiting and diarrhea, keep them home to avoid spreading it to others at school!
Stay healthy earnest readers, and please feel free to share your germ prevention tips below.
x. earnest mom