This year, hygiene has been a much bigger conversation than usual.

Since social distancing began, there have been countless posts online about how to avoid spreading germs in the era of COVID-19. That includes advice on how to properly wash your hands, to not touch your face, and to make sure you sanitize properly after going out in public.

And for good reason! Good hand washing alone can help prevent around 30% of stomach illnesses, and 20% of respiratory illness.

Flu season is quickly approaching. And while it’s nice to have access to an online doctor prescription because your family caught a nasty stomach bug or worse — COVID-19, it’s best to avoid the illnesses as well as you can.

There’s no better time than now to teach your kids flu prevention tips that will also help stave off things like COVID-19 and colds. Just a few fun lessons can help make a significant difference in the health of your child and others in their life.

Try out these tips, tricks, and games to help teach your children about proper hygiene to keep them from catching and spreading everything from seasonal colds and flus to COVID-19.

Start with the “Why”

Before jumping into hygiene tips, it’s important to clue your kids in on why hygiene and not spreading germs is important in the first place.

Pediatric nurse Dr. Dina Kulik recommends giving your children a visual with your explanation.

Kulik calls germs tiny little “bugs” that live on everything. She explains that some bugs are good (like probiotics) and can help us stay healthy, but other bugs are bad and can make us sick.

After you explain germs, explore all the reasons why your kids want to avoid getting sick. Not only does it feel yucky, but being sick means they’ll have miss out on all kinds of fun stuff, like playing with friends or a fun family outing.

Finally, highlight the everyday activities that your kids already do to help keep themselves clean and healthy: showering regularly, washing their hands after they use the restroom and before they eat, brushing their teeth, and more. Let them know they’re already building skills toward having A+ personal hygiene!

Fun Games to Teach Kids About Hygiene

Incorporating hygiene lessons into games and activities has a ton of perks. Not only does it help children stay more engaged, but hands-on learning helps their minds retain the information they’re learning.

It’s also a great opportunity for family bonding, and makes things like hygiene practices feel like less of a chore and more like fun self-care methods.

Hygiene Charades

Hygiene charades is great for the whole family to play.

Come up with a list of 15 things relating to hygiene with actions that can be fun to act out. These can include things like:

  • Shampoo
  • Toilet paper
  • Nail file
  • Washing your back
  • Brushing your hair

Write the words on small pieces of paper. Fold them in half, and place them in a bag without showing anyone what they are.

Have a family member draw a piece of paper from the bag, and act out the word they chose. For kids over 5, give the family 30 seconds to guess what the actor is acting out. For younger kids, you can give them a bit more time.

Glitter Hands

This game is fun, informative, and super easy to set up! It’s the perfect way to show kids how germs can take a while to wash off, which means washing their hands thoroughly every time.

All you need is glitter, soap, a sink and towels.

Sprinkle about a tablespoon of glitter into your child’s hand, aka “germs.” Challenge them to get off the germs by trying to just wipe them away, and see how much glitter will still be stuck to their hands.

Next, challenge them to wash off every single germ using just soap and water.

Once they’re finished, explain to them that germs, like glitter, are very tricky to get off. Talk about the methods they used to successfully get rid of the glitter.

The takeaway? Your kids should pretend they have a palm full of glitter every time they wash their hands, and should use the same scrubbing techniques and length of time that they did for the game.

The Spray Game

The Spray Game uses fun hands-on learning techniques to help show your kids how far germs can travel.

To play, you just need a small spray bottle, a couple drops of colored water, and a room or surface that you don’t mind getting wet or exposed to colored dye. In fact, it’s a great bath time activity!

Color water by heating it up and adding washable watercolor in the color of your choice in it until it reaches the level of color you desire. Voila! A fun, washable way to add color to your child’s world.

Put the colored water in a spray bottle. You can make 2 bottles of colored water if you both want to play.

Next, pretend to cough or sneeze, spraying the bottle as you do so. Observe with your child all the places the colored water traveled.

Talk about how this is how far and easily germs travel, and why it’s important to cover their mouths then wash their hands after they cough or sneeze.

Dr. Panda Bath Time

Another important part of teaching your children about hygiene is making sure they feel empowered to manage personal hygiene tasks on their own.

Make screen time useful by downloading the Dr. Panda Bath Time app.

Dr. Panda Bath Time uses cute animal characters and fun games to teach children ages 4 and up the steps to staying healthy and having great hygiene.

Each level is a different hygiene activity. Activity options include:

  • Doing laundry
  • Taking a bath
  • Using the restroom
  • Brushing their teeth

Children guide the adorable characters through each task. If they miss a step, the game lets them know. They move on to the next level after they’ve accomplished each step in a task successfully.

Sniffly Nose Relay Race

A skill we often overlook as adults is knowing how to blow our noses.

Sometimes, children have a hard time learning how to blow air out of their nose, and they’ll avoid blowing their nose when it’s running. We all know what that leads to…wiping their nose with their hands, and those hands being wiped all over the house, car, and classroom.

Help your kids learn how to blow air out their nose with this fun game.

First, blow your nose with a tissue to make sure it’s clear. Then put 2 feathers on a table — one for you, and one for them.

Using only air blown gently out of your nose, move the feather around the table.

Have your child give it a try. Once they get the hang of it, see who can blow their feather across the table the fastest.

Just don’t forget to disinfect the table afterwards!

Telemedicine: Just in Case

While hygiene can help you and your family avoid illness, sometimes, it’s unavoidable. And it can be even more of a headache trying to find childcare for some of your children while you take another to an appointment. Not to mention the threat of coronavirus exposure.

For those moments, you’ll want to have an online doctor ready to assist. Sign up for myCallaDoc to get connected with certified doctors who you can contact any day or time for your family’s medical needs. They can even write prescriptions, and you can get them at a discount! Sign up today >

This article is not intended as medical advice. Always check with your doctor before embarking on a new health and wellness plan.

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