For young children, germs are sort of a mystery. They're there but you can't see them. They can make you sick, but how? Moms and dads are always talking about them, but where are they? They are the reason you can't lay on the bathroom floor or eat that grape you just dropped, but why?
One way to teach your child how germs are spread is to play this tried and true game, beloved by preschool teachers everywhere:
- Get some hand lotion, cooking spray, coconut oil, or whatever you have on hand. Coat your hands and sprinkle a generous amount of glitter (or flour will do) on top. The glitter are your germs. Show child your hands and then ask him to shake hands with you. When the glitter comes off on his hands, explain that is how germs are spread. Better yet, have him shake hands with someone else, further spreading the "germs".
- Practice washing thoroughly, using soap and scrubbing while singing "Happy Birthday" at least once or twice.
- Now shake hands again and notice how no "germs" are spread.
- Talk about other ways that germs can spread - coughing, sneezing, etc.
A great book to read about hand washing and germs is Germs Are Not For Sharing by Elizabeth Verdick. We have also included a few other great books at the end of this post.
Above all, be moderate when talking about germs. You don't want your child to be anxious, just informed. Germs may be yucky but they shouldn't be scary.
Let Them Fly!