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Are you worried about how your virtual, at-home schooling experience will go during the 2020 and 2021 calendar year? Many parents share your concerns and fears. One lesson that’s never too early to begin teaching at home is how to prevent the spread of germs.
Keeping your germs to yourself is extremely valuable, whether in a pandemic or not.
Your older kids already probably have a good handle on covering their mouths when sneezing or coughing. However, if your children are in preschool or still in the early grades, then they may not have yet established self-control. This is an important time to instill good habits. Also keep in mind that you needn’t put fear and worry into them. A simple, consistent and matter-of-fact directive toward being mindful of keeping our germs to ourselves will go a long way.
Below find some tips for helping kids limit the spread of germs
1. Practice social distancing.
Although hugging and touching our friends is certainly fun, there’s no harm in keeping our distance, even on an ordinary, non-pandemic day. Different friends may have different preferences for how close they would like to be, so teach your children to be mindful and show respect for all.
2. Observe spatial distance.
Help kids understand the importance of personal space. You can use techniques such as having them spread out their arms indicating the need for space around themselves and for staying nearby but yet somewhat away from others. Promote the six-foot-distance rule. You might try using a verbal cue such as “Personal space, please” to emphasize keeping a safe distance from others.
3. Avoid putting objects in your mouth or placing your mouth on objects.
As a parent, you’re likely no stranger to the concept of children engaging in some occasional bizarre activities. Don’t be surprised to find even an older child suddenly putting his or her mouth on something that should not go into the mouth. Let your child know that toys are for playing with and not for eating or tasting. Also let your child know that if his or some other child’s mouth comes into contact with an object, it should be reported to a parent or teacher so that the item can be disinfected appropriately.
4. Don’t share food.
Often when children are enjoying snacks and lunch together they may decide to trade a treat or taste each other’s lunch. This practice should be discouraged in order to prevent the spread of germs. Even if your kids are completely virtual schooled this year, now is the time to impart the training. It’ll likely save you future sick days after things return to normal – so why not.
Again, a useful verbal cue may come in handy for this purpose. You can say something like, “my meal, my mouth” or even just remind your children, “Do not share food.”
5. Cover coughs and sneezes.
This is a big one. If you start with this important practice at home, then you will have instilled good habits in your children once school returns to full, on-site sessions.
Remind children to use a tissue if possible, and dispose of the tissue properly after sneezing into it or blowing their nose. Also, let kids know about the importance of covering a cough or sneeze. You can have them stifle their cough or sneeze into the crook of their arm as well as step away from others if they feel a sneeze or cough coming on.
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