Did you know that the average child catches eight colds a year? That probably explains why young kids stay home from school a lot. Not only do the colds keep them down, but when they’re in school, they pass along their germs to their classmates. As cold and flu season starts, it’s important to do what you can to combat germs in your classroom to keep your preschool students healthy.
How do you take a stand against the spread of germs in your classroom? Follow these important steps:
Educate Parents About Your School’s Sick Policy
Make sure parents are aware of your school’s policy about keeping sick and contagious children home from school until they are safe to come back. Most schools recommend that children stay home until they are fever-free for at least 24 hours. If a child is prescribed antibiotics for an infection like strep throat, they can return 24 hours after their first dose. The same rules apply to teachers; you can spread germs too.
Enforce Proper Handwashing Techniques
One of the best ways you can keep germs from spreading is to make sure your students properly wash their hands. Make sure children know to wash their hands for 20 seconds, which they can time by singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice as they soap, scrub, and rinse. Remind children to wash often. They should always wash before eating, after using the bathroom, after outdoor play, and after blowing their noses, coughing or sneezing.
Have Plenty of Tissues on Hand and Teach Children How to Use Them
Always have plenty of tissues around the classroom in easily accessible areas. You can even ask parents to donate them to make sure there is a good supply. Teach children the proper way to blow and wipe their noses and make sure they throw their dirty tissues away.
Always Take Cover
Sickness can spread by airborne germs after a child coughs or sneezes. Remind children that they should always cover their mouths with a bent arm or a tissue when they cough and sneeze. If they cough or sneeze into their hands, they should wash them immediately after.
Watch Out for Germ Sharing
Even though you welcome sharing in the classroom, you should discourage the sharing of germs. Keep an eye out for behavior that can aid the spread of germs. Teach children how to safely drink from the water fountain, to touch shared silverware by the handles, and to not share cups or water bottles with classmates.
End the Day on a Clean Note
Before you leave for the day, disinfect your room with spray or wipes. Be sure to clean shared equipment, toys, door handles, and any other classroom supplies that can easily be sterilized.
If you think you and your immune system have what it takes to work with children every day, check out the Child Care Assistant Program at Career Quest Learning Centers. We’ll provide you with the tools you need to enter a rewarding career in the early childhood field.