It is a great idea to talk to kids of all ages about germs and why we shouldn’t put everything in our mouths in general. With very young kids you don’t need to explain the details of the current coronavirus pandemic specifically, it is too complex for them to understand. Older children likely have heard about it, so calmly sharing factual information can be helpful. Remember to be honest and age appropriate with kids and reassure them about all the ways you and other adults in their lives are helping to keep them safe and healthy. It feels good to know that there are concrete things you can do in a scary situation. Kids need this as well. Helping your children learn to practice good hand hygiene can both help them stay healthy and give them a sense of empowerment.
As a mom of two small humans, I am constantly astonished by what they will lick, touch, and just full on shove into their faces. They are gross. And right now, with all the fears about COVID-19 going on, I just want to chase them around with a bleach bottle. Since you aren’t supposed to just hose kids down with household cleaning products, we have been washing hands A LOT.
Games to help you get your walking petri dish of a child to wash their hands thoroughly:
- Wash Your Little Hands Song: My three year old loves it when we make up songs to get her to do things and she, like many small humans, responds to song well (and it helps me not lose my cool from asking 10,000 times for her to do the same thing). We sing, “wash your little hands, wash your little hands, wash your little hands” while scrubbing. You can sing this to any tune. We sing it to the tune of “Into the Unknown” from Frozen II because that is her favorite song and it is always stuck in my head because it is pretty much the soundtrack to our lives right now. (This also works for putting on shoes, socks, pants, brushing teeth/hair, etc.) You can also just sing a regular song, they are supposed to wash their hands for 30 seconds so think of a simple song such as the ABC’s, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Happy Birthday.
- Have a bubble competition: See who can make the most bubbles! We basically make bubble gloves before rinsing.
- Wash their hands and then have them wash yours. This is a sweet little way to demonstrate care giving to someone else. You can talk to them about love and how we show each other love while you do it.
Other Ways to Keep Your Kids Healthy:
- Avoid places where lots of people gather as much as possible. Instead of going to a playground, try going on nature walks.
- Try clicklist instead of going into the grocery store or go when you have childcare. If you need to go with kids in tow, just make sure to wash hands before and after and wipe down the cart.
- Avoid places where your kids are able to lick a million things that other people have touched or will touch (no one wants their little germ monsters to be responsible for someone else getting sick either). Luckily, it has been really nice outside. We have been utilizing our state parks pass instead of indoor or crowded options. Go find a big open space and play outside!