How To Help Your Child Understand Germs And Illnesses

In the year of COVID-19 there have probably been many explanations surrounding the germs around the kitchen tables in our country. Why do we have to wash our hands so much? Why do we have to wear a mask? Why can’t we go to school or play sports? Unfortunately our kids will continue to ask many of these questions. If you haven’t had the discussion yet, or you fell short of answers, here are some tips for how to help your child understand germs and illnesses.

But I Thought You Wanted Us To Share

As parents, we teach our children to share. We encourage them to share toys and other play things with their siblings and schoolmates. So when your child suddenly says “why can’t I share my toy with my best friend?”, here is your chance to give them a lesson on germs.

Explain that especially right now there are many germs and viruses in our country and town.

Illustration of a Kid Hands Washing Hands Under Faucet with Germs Falling Down

 We can’t see them, but they are everywhere. If we have some in our body, we can give them to family members or friends. Germs are not our friends, and they can make us sick.

Have them try to remember the last time they were sick. Maybe they had a cold or even the flu last season. The vomiting and/or diarrhea came from the germs, and we needed medicine to kill them. They will surely remember having a fever and feeling terrible. Explain that it was all due to germs or a virus.

How Do We Get Germs?

This is another question you may get from your kids.

We can get or give germs by sneezing or coughing. They are in our saliva and blood. If you have a cold and cough, wipe your nose with your hand and then touch the doorknob, the germs stay there for a while. The next person or persons who touches the doorknob and touches their nose or mouth, can get your germs. That’s how they spread.

How To Stop The Germs

The best thing we can do is to stop the germs before we let them into our bodies. We do that in the following ways:

  • Wash your hands….A LOT. Hot water and soap will kill many germs, so getting your children in the habit of washing their hands is a great start. For young children here are some songs you can play while they wash their hands.
  • Wash before you eat, when you come home, after you use the bathroom, when you cough or sneeze, and after playing with animals.
  • If you don’t have access to water, carry little bottles of hand sanitizer.
  • Cough into the inside of your elbow, and not in your hands.
  • Keep tissues with you when you have a cold..
  • Stay home if you are sick so you won’t spread any germs.
  • Don’t use someone else’s cell phone. Don’t let others use yours, and don’t use mom or dad’s. If you do, wash your hands first.

Contact PediatriCare of Northern Virginia at (703) 330-3939 or request an appointment online to schedule your child’s flu shot or if your child is sick.

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