Between school, daycare and other kid places, children bring home tons of germs. Kids don't always know to wash their hands or how to avoid coming in contact with bad germs, and you can't always rely on teachers and others to keep kids germ-free. However, you can minimize kids' germs in your home and help kids to stay healthy.
In Living Environments
Clean more often. Use a good antibacterial soap spray or antibacterial wipes to wipe down counters, the stove and tables to kill germs. Scrub out kitchen sinks regularly with a strong soap to minimize kids' germs.2
Wipe down things that your kids touch a lot in your kitchen, such as cookie jars, refrigerator doors, cabinet doors and door knobs. Dispose of garbage daily. Keep counters clear of clutter.3
Rinse off containers used a lot in your refrigerator, such as milk carton handles and juice containers. Rinse or wipe them off before first putting them in your refrigerator and daily to minimize kids' germs.4
Mop floors often-at least once a week if not more frequently. Use an antibacterial cleaner and preferably disposable mop heads. Keep in mind that kids drop things on the floor all the time and are constantly touching their faces and other kids.5
Clean bathrooms more often. Use antibacterial soaps, especially on faucet handles. Pay attention to the fact that kids love splashing water from toilets, sinks and tubs on to the floor and around counter tops.6
Wipe down kids' toys and other objects they play with. Know that germs spread from kid to kid often via toys. Keep toys clean to minimize kids' germs.7
Make learning about germs and washing hands into a fun educational game. Encourage kids to wash their hands often. Teach them a song to sing while they wash their hands so they will scrub for about 30 seconds each time they sing it. Draw cartoon characters to depict germs and educate kids about contagious diseases.8
Instruct kids on how to cover their mouths when sneezing or coughing by using their elbows or sleeves instead of hands. Help them to know how to avoid people who have the flu or colds.9
Check your children's daycares, schools and other facilities for hygiene practices. Ask teachers and other workers about their hygiene policies. Find out if they encourage kids to wash up between activities, especially before eating and after they've used the bathroom. Investigate their policies on sending sick kids home who are contagious.
Fighting Germs From the Inside
Encourage kids to play outside when the weather is good. Not only are they less likely to share germs in open spaces, but also the fresh air is good for their immune systems.11
Provide kids with healthy germ-fighting foods containing phytonutrients, such as colorful fruits and vegetables, as well as foods with Omega-3. Avoid giving kids sweets and sugary soft drinks, which lower their immune systems.12
Schedule and take kids for regular physical checkups. Avoid only taking kids to their pediatrician when they're sick. Routine physicals are important for maintaining kids' health. Keep kids' immunizations current.13
Encourage kids to get enough sleep and exercise to minimize kids' germs and keep them healthy. Know that lack of either of these lowers the immune system and its ability to fight illness.14
Encourage kids to drink plenty of water. Help them to understand how water cleanses and purifies the body, and how dehydration lowers the immune system. Know that home purified water is often better for you than store-bought bottled water.15
Educate kids about not sharing food and drinks with others to minimize kids' germs. Explain how germs are passed from mouth to mouth.