5 things to do to keep your child germ-free

School is back, and the one thing that parents always struggle with is the fact that they are no longer able to monitor their child’s behaviour and what they are getting up to during the school day. Parents have no control over what germs their child is picking up or sharing with others, therefore it is important to teach your child good hygiene.

Whether you are parenting a toddler or teenager, a few useful lifestyle tips can do a lot in keeping your child happy and healthy.

  1. Teach them to wash their hands regularly

It does not matter how much you stress cleanliness in your home, your child will be exposed to a host of germs wherever else they go – from school, to friends’ houses to extramurals. The first step in order to eradicate germs is to make sure that your child washes their hands regularly – and correctly. Hands should be washed with warm water and soap, the soap should be lathered on the hands for about 20 seconds before they rinsed off, making sure to scrub both the front and back of their hands as well as between each finger and around their nails. It is a good idea to use paper towels to dry their hands and to close the faucet.

Encourage your child to wash their hands after going to the bathroom, after playing outside, after spending an amount of time at any public places, and whenever they come home from school.

  1. Teach your kids that not all sharing is caring

Items that go in their mouth such as water bottles, lip ice, utensils, and even food are easy ways for germs to spread. Mouths are hotbeds of activity for germs, and items that go into the mouth should not be shared with others. To avoid this, make sure to label your child’s lunchbox and juice bottle correctly. Also encourage your child not to touch food directly, wrap a serviette or napkin around their sandwich and pass it in a napkin when transferring it from one place to another. They should also wash their hands before and after interval.

  1. Have a designated area in the house where your child can put down their backpack and shoes

Oftentimes children rush to the kitchen after they get home from school and immediately shed their backpacks and shoes there (both of which would be rife with germs). The kitchen should be treated as a sacred space, it is where the food is kept and created and therefore germs which spread in the kitchen could be detrimental for the whole family. By creating a designated area away from the kitchen where children can drop their shoes and bags so that it is away from the ‘sacred’ area will help to promote a healthy environment in the home.

  1. Allow your children to spend time outdoors

It is almost an old wives ’ tale that if children spend time outdoors they are more likely to pick up germs and illnesses but playing outside (in weather that is not too cold or windy) gives children fresh air and Vitamin D from the sun, which helps to boost their immune systems and make them less susceptible to harmful germs and disease. Let your kid spend a few hours every day outdoors for their own benefit.

  1. Teach your child to cover their mouth correctly when they cough

Germs can spread so quickly through coughs and sneezes, especially if the child coughs or sneezes into their hand and does not wash it right away. In order to minimize the damage, encourage your child to cover their cough with the crook of their elbow. Even better, they should cough or sneeze into a tissue that can be immediately thrown away.

Hygiene is one of the most important lessons your child will learn, and also something that might save their lives. Dettol has a range of products to keep your child clean all day – even when you are not around – such as hand wash, wipes, soaps and anti-septic liquid. Find out more here