It is widely known that children are often more likely to become sick than adults due to frequent close contact at school and day care. Most children are not very aware of good hygiene practices and personal space which can increase the risk of illnesses spreading throughout these groups of young people. With the current pandemic still continuing to affect our daily life, it is more important than ever to make children aware of the good hygiene habits they should be following which will not only set them up for adulthood but will help to slow the spread of the virus.
Frequent Deep Cleans: One of the most obvious ways to maintain a high standard of hygiene is to carry out a number of deep cleans throughout the day. This involves cleaning and disinfecting all hard surfaces in the classroom, toilets, corridors, and stairwells. The main areas to focus on are doorhandles, railings, desks, chairs, and any other equipment which is frequently used. This helps to remove any potentially harmful germs from the areas that students come into contact with most commonly.
Social Distancing: By encouraging students to remain 2 metres apart, this can reduce the risk of spreading any diseases between themselves. As a reminder to keep a safe distance, floor markers should be used to indicate any one-way systems, classrooms should be re-organised to allow a 2-metre gap between each desk, and break times could be staggered.
Hand Washing Techniques: While most pupils understand the basics of hand washing, it is important that they get to grips with what techniques they should be following and how frequently. Encourage students to wash their hands several times throughout the day, particularly before meals or touching their face. Inform them that they should be spending at least 20 seconds washing their hands with warm soapy water and perform demonstrations to show them the scrubbing techniques they should be using. Make sure not to forget the fingernails as this can be a prime location for bacteria to grow. It is also beneficial to highlight to pupils the importance of drying their hands with the fitted school hand dryers.
In order for these practices to be successful, school washrooms must be fitted with the correct equipment to do so, including sinks, soap, and hand dryers. Regular checks should be performed to guarantee that everything is in order, checking everything from water temperature to the level of soap in the dispensers.
Using Tissues: Children should be taught from a young age that they need to cover their nose and mouth with a tissue in the event of sneezing or coughing. This helps to stop germs from being transmitted through the air. After using a tissue, this should be disposed of in the bin and children should be encouraged to wash their hands where possible.
Oral Hygiene: Children need to be made aware that brushing your teeth is one of the most important hygiene skills and one that they will use every day for the rest of their life. The cleaning of the mouth needs to be carried out twice a day, typically in the morning and at night, and it is crucial that young children practice this skill to maintain a good level of oral hygiene. It is common for people to brush their teeth but neglect other mouth cleaning techniques like using mouthwash and flossing. If these additional steps are instilled in students at an early age, then it is more likely that they will continue these into adult hood.
Make It Fun: The likelihood of children adopting these hygienic practices can be increased if they can be made to seem more appealing and enjoyable. A great way to do this is to reward pupils for example, receiving a sticker or lollipop for reaching a target number of hand washes throughout the day or to make it a competitive activity. This way children become more interested in carrying out hygienic tasks and continue these habits for the rest of their lives. Another way to create entertainment from washing your hands is to help students come up with a song or rhyme they can recite while completing the task. This will not only ensure they take more pleasure when it comes to washing their hands, but it can also be a great way to guarantee this process is carried out for an appropriate length of time.
The benefits of good personal hygiene are not only relevant in the current situation we face but will be important for the rest of a child’s life. This is why it is vital we encourage these habits from a young age to keep future generations both happy and healthy.
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