Teaching kids about disease prevention and hygiene is always important, but even more so during the pandemic.
The concept of microscopic organisms can be very abstract and therefore difficult for kids to grasp. It is also important to strike the right balance: express the seriousness of hygiene onto your children without frightening them. Otherwise, you may need to seek out the best anxiety medication for children.
One way to help your children remember what they learn while not causing them undue distress is to make the learning experience fun. Here are some activities you can try.
1. Begin with the basics
Illnesses typically caused by bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and viruses. Each has its own characteristics and can affect the body in different ways. You should outline the similarities and differences to your child.
Explain how to fight infection and why a homeopathic over-the-counter medicine that's meant to prevent colds won't work on strep throat, for example.
Once your children understand the basics, you can come up with guessing games in which they have to tell the different pathogens apart or unscramble the letters of their names.
2. Make it concrete
Children may doubt the existence of anything they can't see, so to illustrate how disease spreads, you may have to provide something concrete that they can observe themselves.
One way to do this is to sprinkle glitter on your children's hands and tell them that the glitter represents germs that cause disease. Have them do normal activities, such as shaking hands or playing ball, and see how the glitter spreads. To prevent the glitter from getting out of control, you may want to try this activity outside.
Conversely, you may want to do it inside specifically because seeing the glitter turn up in unexpected places long after the exercise is over may help to reinforce the point.
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3. Use music
Experts recommend singing while washing hands to ensure a thorough cleanse. Be creative in your song choices. Choosing a song that your child really loves can make hand-washing a positive experience.
Use music as a mnemonic to help reinforce hygiene messages. Research shows that setting information to music aids memory and improves retention.
4. Set a good example
Your children should see you practicing the same hand hygiene that you are asking them to adopt.
Whenever it is reasonable to do so, you and your child should wash your hands together. This helps to reinforce the point you are making, and it is also an opportunity to come up with games or other ways to make it fun.
Your children also take their cues from you when it comes to the attitudes they adopt, so try to maintain a calm and confident attitude about germs. Remember, if you're anxious, your child will pick up on that.
Children look to you for answers, but as a parent, you have many questions of your own, such as “What can I give my child for anxiety?” or “What are the best foods to eat to improve immune health?” Seek out authoritative sources for answers.