As the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to spread, it has become more critical than ever to ensure compliance with all safety practices. This is especially applicable to children, who are getting increasingly restless after months of physical distancing at home. As you accompany your kid through walks around the neighborhood or visits to nearby parks, introducing them to the required health measures should be your utmost priority. Apart from helping them practice physical distancing and keeping them away from unnecessary crowds, another easy way to lower their chances of contracting COVID-19 is introducing proper hand hygiene.
At first, it might seem tricky to teach young ones why they should wash their hands or use a hand sanitizer frequently. But using tried and tested methods can help you integrate these practices into their everyday activities.
Interested to learn more? Here’s a lowdown on keeping your kid’s hands clean during the pandemic.
Make Hand Hygiene Your Responsibility
If your kid is too young to take on the responsibility of cleaning their hands effectively, make their hand hygiene a part of your own daily routine. The process would require you to not only remind them to sanitize their hands, but also supervise their visits to the sink for that purpose.
While you are at it, make sure that your child is adhering to the following practices.
- Complying with the 20-second rule. For ideal results, your kid should wash their hands with soap and water for no less than 20 seconds.
- Rubbing their hands together properly. To break down bacteria and wash it away in an optimal way, your child should rub their palms and the back of their hands effectively.
- Cleaning their fingertips during the process. Apart from washing off dirt and grime, your kid should also pay attention to rubbing their fingertips with soap and water.
- Washing the space between their fingers. Your kid should also pay attention to their interdigital folds to make sure the area stays free of germs.
- Getting dirt out from under their nails. Long nails can cause dirt and germs to crawl under nails. Teaching your child to draw the grime out and wash it away can help.
If your kid can’t access soap and water, make sure to introduce the use of a hand sanitizer. Showing the right way to use this essential item helps them understand how it can battle germs when hand washing is not an available option.
Using hand sanitizers is easier than washing hands with soap and water, but the process still needs basic guidance. For instance, show your kid how they can rub sanitizer on their hands, including their fingertips and interdigital folds. You must also explain that in order to wave goodbye to germs using a sanitizer, they will need to use it for 20-30 seconds.
Teach Your Kid Why Keeping Their Hands Clean is Important
If your child is old enough to understand the process of hand washing or sanitizing, make sure to explain the proper ways to implement each practice. This ensures that they are following the recommended steps to keep their hands clean.
In addition to explaining how they can keep their hands sparkling clean, also elaborate on why exactly they need to do that in the first place.
Here, you can explain a bit about the novel coronavirus, its symptoms, and it’s evident change on the world around us. You can assure your child about the availability of medical treatment in case they get infected with COVID-19. But at the same time, you should let them know that a vaccine isn’t currently unavailable, which is why they need to be extra careful with hand hygiene and physical distancing.
By explaining basic facts about coronavirus, you can ensure that your kid takes an active part in keeping their hands clean during the pandemic.
Introduce Fun Ways to Make Hand Hygiene a Regular Practice
To amplify your child’s self-compliance with hand hygiene, you can also make hand washing and sanitizing a fun activity instead of a simple chore. This ensures that your kid is not looking at this task with boredom. As a result, it lowers their chances of skipping this critical activity through the day.
Introduce Songs During the Practice
Since using hand sanitizer and washing hands with soap and water both take at least 20 seconds, suggest your child to hum or sing a song that’s just as long.
Some examples include singing the ABC song once or the Happy Birthday song twice. If that’s not your kid’s jam, you can turn them to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star instead. The sky’s the limit here: if your child likes another song that can keep them busy for 20 seconds, don’t be shy in suggesting it.
Keep a Score of Hand Hygiene
You can also practice keeping a scorebook of hand hygiene, where your child can record and track their daily hand sanitizing activities.
This also gives you an easy way to keep tabs on how effectively your kid is following hand sanitizing. This also includes recording hand hygiene at critical times such as coming back into the house after playtime or preparing for their meal.
Use Different Soaps and Sanitizers
To keep hand cleaning fun, make sure to use different color soaps and sanitizers. If you introduce the variety, the intrigue would help your child go back for more.
You can also use dispensers shaped as your kid’s favorite pop culture characters to boost their engagement in this crucial activity. It helps in making hand washing and sanitizing a more fun activity than it may seem in its typical form.
Make Sure to Equip Your Child With the Required Items in Your Absence
If your kid continues school or daycare during the pandemic, it is critical that you give them the required items such as their favorite soap and hand sanitizer. Apart from providing them with essential supplies, this also encourages them to keep their hands clean. As defined above, teaching your child the important practices for hand hygiene and the reasons behind the approach can also help.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your kid follows expert medical advice and takes an active part in implementing optimal hand hygiene. A little care can go a long way towards keeping them and others safe during this highly challenging time.