6 Ways to Teach Children About Germs
Germs are everywhere. They’re out in the world and they’re even in our homes. They can be spread through fluids or simple contact. Children, especially, need to be careful about how they spread germs. Their immune systems are still immature and they have a tendency to touch just about everything; that’s why they seem to get sick so often. Here are some ways you can teach your kids about germs.
1. Practice what you preach.
I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. Leading by example is the best way to teach our kids anything. We can insist they do as we say, not as we do, but that never works. If your children see you practicing good habits, they’ll naturally fall into step. Wash your hands before eating and after using the bathroom, blowing your nose, or coughing/sneezing into your hand.
2. Create a hand-washing song.
If you tell your kids to wash their hands, they’ll likely wet them under the water for a second and be done with it. But this doesn’t actually clean anything. Give them a fun way to measure the time by using a song that’s 15 to 20 seconds long. Encourage them to sing the song while they wash their hands and they aren’t done until the song is over. The ABCs usually take about 20 seconds.
3. Make food easily share-able.
While we want our kids to share, food should be off limits unless it’s been divided. Rather than letting them bite off that apple together, cut it into slices so they don’t pass germs to one another. Quarter that sandwich too. If you’ve only got one cup, drop in an extra straw.
4. Use a visual aid.
Often, kids are visual learners. Fill a spray bottle with water. Explain that in this example, the germs are the water. Give a spritz at a table or plant to show how far the germs can be spread. Keep spraying and stepping back until the water doesn’t reach the target anymore. This will give your kids an idea just how far germs can travel by coughs and sneezes.
5. Teach the basics of germs.
Explain that germs are tiny, impossible to see (with our eyes) little things that live basically everywhere. Many are harmless, but some can make us sick. They live out in the world and some even inside our bodies. If we touch something on the ground or public places, we could pick up germs. We can also get them if we touch other people if they forgot to wash their hands after sneezing, coughing or using the bathroom.
6. Use the wheat flour experiment.
This display is often used in kindergarten classes to explain germs. Cover a plate in whole wheat flour and tell the kids that it represents germs. Have a fraction of the group put their hands in the flour (one kid if you have two or three, two kids if you have four or five, three if you have ten, etc. so that just a few touch the flour). Then let them play with a communal toy like building blocks. After three or five minutes, have them all hold out their hands to see who has the “germs” now. Explain that had they washed their hands, no one would have the germs.
Written by Holly MacLean from Wee Urban
As a new mom, Holly was driven to start Wee Urban™ to offer the modern family a unique and fresh collection of eco-friendly baby gear and accessories that goes beyond the conventional and explores the exceptional! Tired of traditional pinks and blues and cute motifs, we offer sophisticated designs, “conscious” organic alternatives, practical functionality and superior quality. Using our custom certified organic cotton blends, low-impact dyes, and other trendsetting fabrics, we hope to inspire families to be make better choices and of course- do it all in urban style!
Beyond our organic cotton and azo-free dyes, Wee Urban uses 100% post-consumer packaging and tags for our Wee Dreams™ Sleep Bags. Our distinctive screen-printing is done with 100% eco-inks and are all phthalate free.
We also recycle our remnants and donate as much as possible to local elementary schools to help with arts and crafts programs.
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