Teaching Kids to Stop the Spread of Germs
By Elizabeth Brownfield
Teaching kids to stop the spread of germs. If it seems as if your kids are always picking up germs and getting sick, it’s not your imagination. With developing immune systems, packed classrooms and a tendency to taste and touch with abandon, kids are much more likely than adults to catch and spread germs, says Dr. William Sears, a pediatrician and associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of California, Irvine.
But you can teach kids habits to help them avoid and contain germs so they — and the rest of your family — stay healthy. And the earlier you start, the better, says Betsy Brown Braun, a parenting expert and author of Just Tell Me What to Say. Try these tricks for teaching little ones to stay germ-free. With practice, the habits will become as ingrained as saying please and thank you.
1. Lead by example.
The most important habit to teach kids: Wash hands often. Wash them before eating, after returning home, after using the bathroom or blowing their nose. And if they accidentally cough or sneeze into their hands (instead of into their sleeve), teach them to wash hands right away.
As you might expect, the best way to drive home the message is by demonstrating these good habits yourself. Wash your hands at these times too — every time.