Those Icky, Yucky Germs!
For baby, picking up objects and even putting the object in her mouth is a way of exploring her surroundings. So the cigarette butts that your baby tries to put in her mouth is just her way of discovering the world.
However, as she grows up and begins to understand things a bit more, her habit of picking up everything and anything can seem less endearing. While you don’t want to discourage this exploration, it doesn’t hurt to put some limits on it and start the germ lessons early.
Germs Can Make You Sick
One of the main concerns, when it comes to germs, is their close relationship with disease. Perhaps the easiest way to help your child understand why germs are such a bad thing is to help him make the link between germs and being sick. If he is old enough, then ask him to tell you about a time when he got sick, even if it was just a minor cold. Have him explain to you how he felt before you tell him that it was germs that caused him to feel miserable.
Explain to your child that germs are everywhere and on everything but they can only be seen under a microscope. You can help make the idea of germs more real to her by using a book that has pictures of different types of germs in it. You might also want to take a walk through your house, pointing out all the germ "hot spots" (like the kitchen and the bathroom) and then ask her if she can think of anywhere outside of the house where there might be germs, like the park or the sidewalk.
Scrub Those Hands and Feet
One of the main ideas your child needs to know about germs is how important regular hand washing is. Show him the proper way of washing his hands, which includes washing the back of your hands, your palms, fingers as well as your wrists. Since most kids love to splash around in water, he shouldn’t mind this lesson too much.
Because washing with warm soapy water is the best way to prevent the spread of germs and disease, it is just as important that your child learn from an early age that regular bathing is a part of good hygiene. Children as young as two can be taught how to bathe independently. Just make sure that your toddler or young child never bathes without adult supervision.
Brush Those Teeth
Another major facet of good hygiene is proper dental care. Even if your child’s permanent teeth haven’t come in yet, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t make brushing a daily part of her routine. Your child’s relationship with her toothbrush should start as soon as those first teeth start coming in. If it’s hard to get her to stay in the bathroom to brush her teeth, then turn on some music to entertain your child.
The Dreaded Shopping Cart
Out in the public world, most people assume that a public washroom is the most germ-infested area. While there certainly are some germs in there that you don’t want to come into contact with, there is actually a surface that you regularly come into contact with that has far more germs than that bathroom.
Perhaps one of the most germ-laden surfaces out there is the handle bar on a shopping cart. Why? Because shopping carts are rarely, if ever, cleaned. This means that your average shopping cart will have traces of saliva, blood, fecal matter, mucus, semen and even E. Coli bacteria on it. Not very appetizing, is it? To help protect your child, and yourself, from these awful germs, consider using a cart protector every time you go food shopping.
While you’re at the grocery store, use the opportunity to help your child learn about germs and food. As you go by the meat section, point out the raw meat and explain how raw foods can carry harmful bacteria, like E. Coli. Explain how important it is to eat foods that are properly cooked and to always wash your hands after you handle raw foods like chicken.
Cart Comforter: Help protect your child from germs and keep them comfortable while you shop with a Cart Comforter. Made of comfortable padding, these cart protectors easily fit into most shopping carts and prevent your child from coming into contact with nasty bacteria.