Tuesday | 24 March | 2020
by Marli Naidoo
Due to the lightning speed with which the coronavirus is spreading, it is important to put your children’s hygiene first and foremost. It has been found that a small number of children fall ill from the virus, and those who do on the whole recover well. However, children can transfer the virus to other, more vulnerable people, with possibly fatal results. It is the responsibility of you as parents to ensure that your children know how to apply hygiene during this time. Of course, it is also a good basis for creating long-term health awareness and habits.
Washing hands is one of the easiest ways to prevent the spreading of diseases. Most children however consider a slap on the wet soap and a quick rinse to be washing hands. The challenge is to let them understand why it is better to perform this task thoroughly.
Knowledge is power! Explain to them how germs work (without scaring them to death), and how to destroy germs with lots of soap and water. The internet abounds with cute videos which you can use.
It is so much better to be healthy than to be ill. Remind them how bad they felt when they had a cold, and that they will stay healthier more readily if they wash their hands regularly.
Show your children how to wash their hands properly: between the fingers, on top and under the nails. You can make up your own rhyme that you can use for them to remember the necessary steps.
Everyone has to wash their hands continuously for 20 seconds. You can use a timer in the bathroom.
See that your small child can reach the wash basin by placing a step in front of it.
Any soap can perform the task, and you need not purchase anti-bacterial soap. Buy soap that will invite your children to wash their hands: interesting shapes, colours and aromas make washing hands fun.
Set a good example, and wash your own hands regularly.
Washing hands is not the only way in which your children can contribute to combating the spread of the coronavirus.
Sneeze or cough in your sleeve or in the crook of your elbow, or use a tissue which you then discard in the dustbin immediately. Don’t cough or sneeze near others.
If you don’t have soap or water close by, you can use waterless hand cleansers.
Teach your children to not touch everything they see. It can be more problematic for small children, and they will need your patience and help in this regard. Give them something to play with, or to hold, so that your tiny hands can stay busy.
University of Rochester Medical Center: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=1&contentid=972
Science daily: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200319125201.htm
World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public
* All information was correct at the time of publication.