Kids. They’re still figuring out the world and topics such as hygiene definitely are not on their minds! As their child care center, you’re an important piece in keeping them safe, healthy and also teaching them healthy habits. Let’s face it, kids have some habits that are not the most sanitary. It can be difficult for kids to understand the idea of invisible germs that can make them sick, so start explaining early on why sticking their finger in their nose is a bad idea. More importantly, teach them how to wash their hands with liquid soap and water for at least twenty seconds and then to dry their hands well with a paper towel. It’s important to get those germs off of little fingers before they spread.

Nose picking. Ew. Keep tissues on hand and have children use one whenever you catch them picking their little noses or wiping it on the back of a hand. Explain that it’s a habit that can spread germs that may make them sick. Then, make sure they go and wash their hands following the steps of hand washing. An instructional hand washing sign with pictures will let them see the steps to proper hand washing and follow along.

Another way to combat germ-sharing is to get kids in the habit of washing their hands before every meal and snack. This is a licensing rule for good reason- it decreases the chance of spreading germs to the food they’re eating or passing germs on to others.

Picking at scabs. All kids get bumps, scrapes and cuts when they’re busy doing what kids do. Some kids can be fascinated with their body’s healing process. Convincing them to keep a bandage on the wound and to leave the scab alone so that it heals properly can be a chore. But helping them to wash hands frequently explaining that even small ouches can get infected if we pick at them should help them exert a little self-control. Maybe challenge them to guess how many days it will take for the wound to heal. As with all good hygiene, working with kids to understand what their bodies need to heal is the best approach.

Never under estimate the power of frequent hand washing. It is the number one way to help stop the spread of germs and prevent illness!