Sunday, July 13, 2014

5 Tips for Healthy Kids in the Classroom

Keeping Germs at Bay at School

There's the old GI Joe adage, 'Knowing is half the battle.' Over the years, I have learned more than a few ways to keep the kids in my class healthy and in their seats instead of home with a cold. All it takes is some preparation, some understanding, and plenty of tissue.
Don't share equipment
 
As the herd on My Little Pony, Friendship Is Magic like to say, 'Sharing is caring.' However, there are times when this isn't true. On the first day, I go over the importance of not sharing pencils, snacks, or tissues so that any germs present will have a harder time spreading from one student to the next.

Hand Sanitizer
 
This is a simple one - on each student's back-to-school list is a small bottle of sanitizer, and I keep a larger bottle on my desk as well. Students become accustomed to rubbing it on their hands after handling books, art supplies, and between activities. This keeps the classroom clean and a hard place for germs to set up camp.

Keep Those Hands Clean, Again
 
In my class, students wash their hands before eating, after eating, and after breaks. Several washrooms are located on each floor, and disposable towels are one-use only before being thrown in the trash. Instilling this good habit will help develop responsibility as children grow older.

Classroom Demonstrations
 
From the first day on, I make sure the kids know how to sneeze into their sleeves. I make a point to demonstrate the technique, going as far as comically exaggerating my 'heave' so the message gets across. Then, each student comes to the front of the class to show their own 'sneeze,' where prizes are handed out of the largest, loudest, silliest, and quietest presentation. That usually does the trick for the rest of the year.

The Big Picture
 
All of these are great for short-term solutions, but I stress to my classes that good sleeping habits, nutrition, and plenty of exercise will keep them healthy as well. A young body that takes care of itself will become a strong adult body, and it's their duty to themselves to do just that.