It can be a constant battle for parents: getting their children to a practice proper hygiene. This becomes even more important when children are of school age and are out of their parents’ sight for much of the day. The school nurse who recommends the following tips for students also mentions that
children learn by example and that the best way to get them to develop proper hygiene habits is for parents to let them see these practices in action at home.
Parents therefore have the responsibility to ensure that cleanliness becomes such an integral part of the child’s daily routine mat what he or she learns at
home will be automatically carried over into the school environment.
One of the most basic hygienic rituals is washing hands with soap. Parents, make sure that your child also practises cleaning away the din from underneath the fingernails. Proper hand-washing is the most important way to prevent the transmission of infection, both at home and school or at the day care centre. It is most common for parents to tell their children to wash hands before eating and after going to the bathroom, but handwashing should not be limited to these times only. Children should also wash up when they come back
in from playing outside during recess or participating in sports or physical education class.
School bathrooms have become notorious for being unsanitary, but children can minimise the hazards by wiping off the toilet seat with damp tissue before sitting on it, and using enough toikt paper when cleaning themselves, so that
exposure to germs is reduced.
HAND TO MOUTH HAZARDS
Pens, pencils, rubbers or geometry set instruments have no business being in the mouth. This is another way that germs like those causing colds and the flu can be spread from the hand to the mouth or vice versa and from one child to another, especially when objects are borrowed.
Teach your children also to cover their mouths with their hands or with a tissue when they sneeze or cough so that germs are not transmitted to others in the classroom. Disposable tissues are preferable to handkerchiefs as the latter trap germs, so pack these or toilet paper in your child’s school bag.
Whether food is brought from home or purchased at the school cafeteria, the tops of soda or juice bottles, cans and cartons must be thoroughly wiped off before they are opened and the liquid consumed. Fruits which do not require peeling, like apples and guavas must also be properly wiped off or rinsed before being eaten.
Children, of course, like to share their food, but it is not a good idea for them to share cups or cutlery when doing so.
Lunch bags and boxes must also be regularly washed out using a disinfecting solution like bleach, and then air-dned to prevent bacteria lodging in them and being transmitted to food.