“Prevention from diseases is better than treatment” and to protect your child from bacteria and germs that surround him in his discovery period it is important to teach him good preventive habits related to personal hygiene.
Remember that this is the best time to teach your child good habits that will stay with him for the rest of his life.
You may worry about how clean the environment surrounding your child is and how it can expose him to the various viruses and bacteria but you should also be aware that these germs spread through:
- Touching dirty hands
- contamination of water or food
- Droplets released during a cough or a sneeze
- contamination of contaminated surfaces (floors, door handles and other public places)
- Getting in contact with a sick person
If your child picks up germs from one of these sources, this may cause him to get sick from colds, flu and most types of diarrhoea. This can happen in the simplest forms-by touching his eyes, nose or mouth, all of which are common gestures children do at this age. He can get infected and it's usually just a matter of time before the whole family comes down with the same illness.
What’s the solution?
Washing your hands and that of your child’s is the first step of defense against the spread of many illnesses. But kids may not always listen when you tell them to wash their hands but it's a message worth repeating.
How to wash hands correctly?
Here are some simple steps for scrubbing those germs away from your hands and your child’s. Demonstrate this routine of washing your hands to your child or better yet wash your hands together with your child’s several times a day so he learns how important this good habit is.
1. Wash your hands in warm water. Make sure the water isn't too hot for little hands.
2. Use soap and lather up for about 10 to 15 seconds. Make sure you get in between the fingers and under the nails where uninvited germs like to hang out. Don't forget to wash your wrists!
3. Rinse and dry well with a clean towel.
To minimize the germs passed around your family, make frequent hand washing a rule for everyone, especially:
- Before eating and cooking food
- Before and after using the bathroom
- After cleaning around the house
- After touching animals, including family pets
- After visiting or taking care of any sick friends or relatives
- After blowing one's nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After being outside (playing, gardening, walking the dog, etc.)
Don't underestimate the power of washing your hands! The few seconds you spend at the sink with your child could save you trips to the doctor's office.
This article is developed by the NIDO® Child Development Expert Panel