When you’re in charge of a classroom of young children you are one of the gatekeepers blocking viruses and infections from spreading during the winter months. Contrary to popular belief, the cold weather doesn’t make illness more prevalent – it just keeps people indoors in close proximity where germs can travel.
According to the BBC the confinement of people in schools and other public buildings for longer periods of time encourages the spread of germs as we touch more doorknobs, water fountains, and other high-concentration points. Keep your students healthy by reinforcing these habits of hygiene for kids and hopefully avoiding a flu breakout this year:
- Emphasize that hand-washing is essential. After recess, before lunch, after sneezing – there are just some of the instances when your students should be instructed to wash their hands.
- Make hygiene fun! If you find fun instructional hygiene videos online or in your school library watch them with your students. Turtle Diary has several videos on personal hygiene that are succinct and fun, perfect for classroom viewing.
- Teach the importance of clipping and cleaning under the fingernails. Nail gunk is a breeding ground for bacteria. Supervise fingernail clipping once a week if you identify any students who aren’t receiving proper care at home. Store some spare fingernail clippers in your classroom.
- Always convey the importance of staying at home when a student feels ill. The CDC recommends that children should stay at home when obvious signs of illness are present, like sneezing or a fever.
- Once a year conduct a unit emphasizing that combing and brushing long or frizzy hair is essential for proper hygiene. No child wants the embarrassment of having lice discovered in their hair – teach basic hair hygiene in case the topic hasn’t been properly discussed at home. An infestation of head lice is most common among preschool- and early elementary school-age children.
Provide sanitizer in your classroom, and also allow children to go to the restroom to wash their hands. Consider keeping a copy of the CDC’s handwashing and hand sanitizer guide on the board in your classroom for quick reference.
After viewing these videos with your students host a schoolwide competition and offer prizes to students who take proper steps to look after their hygiene at school.
Some parents may insist on children attending school, but if a sick child attends school the illness can spread. If possible, encourage parents to remain home with sick children.
Want to become a classroom pro? Our Early Childhood Education graduates are fully equipped to tackle the nuanced problems of the education system, from grant-writing to keeping children germ-free. Apply to the Early Childhood Education program at Kendall College today.