How Do You Teach Young Students Good Hygiene Habits? | #coronavirus | #kids. | #children

ORLANDO, Fla. — Many families are wondering how schools amid the coronavirus pandemic will handle younger children when it comes to social distancing, mask-wearing, and hand-washing.

What You Need To Know

  • Early elementary school kids are toughest to teach cleanliness habits
  • Pediatrician says kids in this age group are more impulsive
  • She recommends thinking like a kid to come up with creative solutions

Pediatricians say kids in early elementary school prove to be the toughest to teach cleanliness habits. That’s why they’re encouraging creative ideas to make those habits stick.

First grade goes over the basic building blocks of education, which for teacher Kelsey Smit includes basic hygiene.

“I taught them OK, you’re going to wash your thumbs, and your wrists, and in between your fingers on both sides,” Smit said.

She teaches good habits, but she knows as well as pediatricians that it’s tough to break the bad ones.

“They just are more impulsive, where they will pick up something and put it in their mouth,” pediatrician Dr. Candice Jones said. “They’re going to touch their face, they’re going to play with each other. They’re going to forget all the rules and all the things that you’ve taught them when something else comes up that they want to do. They can’t just control that impulse.”

Jones says with the start of fall school getting nearer, parents have a role to play in enforcing good hygiene.

“If you really want those measures to hit home, those safety measures to hit home, you have to think like a child. And you have to make it fun, and creative, and imaginative,” Jones said. “Parents need to do this at home right now if they’re thinking about putting their child in school.”

Teachers in Florida will be joining the latest of a class of essential workers — like nurses, TSA agents, and grocery store workers — considered to be on the front lines.

For her part, Smit is worried for herself, because she’s considered at higher risk for COVID-19.​

“I signed up to instruct my students, and love on them, and provide them with opportunities for learning and growth as citizens of our country. I did not sign up to basically expose myself to a virus,” Smit said.

Teachers are split on what to do: Some say they have concerns with returning; others say they are more than ready to come back, because they say in-person learning is the best, most effective form of education.

All will be watching closely this week as school districts begin announcing their fall reopening plans.​

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