Colds can make any of us, especially children, miserable and once our children are in close contact with other children, there is more likelihood of them sharing germs, viruses or bacteria. This is even more of a problem as many children have their fingers in their mouths or if very young, sucking any object that is within reach.
At an early age, children can begin to learn about basic hygiene and germ etiquette which may stay with them for their lifetime. As with teaching anything to children, it can often be more effective if done within a play environment or seeing you model what you are expecting.
- Hand Washing
This is a basic health regimen for us all and done well and regularly can reduce the spread of infection. It’s important to model using soap and a good length of time to wash hands, not a quick rub and flick. Establishing a routine around washing hands may help establish the habit: After the toilet; coming in from outside; after playing with pets; and before meals are all important times to expect your child to wash his/her hands. Having a solid step near the hand basin may help with this. It’s important to dry hands after washing.
If you can make hand washing fun, children are more likely to get into it. Teach them to wash while they sing for example, ‘This is the way we wash our hands, wash our hands, wash our hands. This is the way we wash our hands and wash the germs away’.
- When coughs come
Teach your child to cough into the crook of the elbow. It’s better than into hands. If they sneeze or have a runny nose, teach them to use a tissue, then throw it into a bin and wash their hands.
Show-and-tell is a good strategy for teaching these skills. Demonstrate what to do when you sneeze yourself . You can also model how to wipe a runny nose and cough into your elbow or sleeve. Teach your toddler to blow by pressing one nostril closed while s/he exhales gently through the other. Don’t expect him/her to master these techniques right away.
- Dressing for cool weather
The old wisdom of warm feet and warm chest and neck areas still holds good today. Don’t overlook using singlets or light T-shirts under your child’s clothes. It’s a fine line between dressing them too warmly or not warmly enough. Layers in certain climates are a good option.
- Winter Food
Soups, pastas, curries, casseroles are warming when the weather is cold and can be good for dry throats. Minestrone soup is usually a popular soup and contains many good ingredients.
At Angel’s Paradise, we understand the importance of good health in a shared environment particularly and encourage good hygiene practices.