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July 2018

From hand to mouth: hygiene tips in schools [Ask the Expert]

Written by Lemay Rogers
Ask the Expert

I’m just going to say it; Teachers are “bombproof” and I have the utmost respect for the profession.  Our teachers nurture, educate, and guide the next generation BUT they also miraculously manage to stay healthy - even with a class full of children, half of which are most likely ill this time of year.

I spoke to Michele Johnson, a teacher at a local Pre-Primary School, who educates children age 3 - 4.

1. Many people see kids as unhygienic. They don’t wash their hands that often and play in a LOT of dirt. What is your view?

Children do often get their hands dirty and can be found playing with something that most adults would avoid. However, I don’t see children as unhygienic.  

Even though to some it may come across as completely unhygienic, we should encourage children to play in the dirt and explore in order to develop skills and their immune system. In a previous article 5 reasons you should let your children play in the dirt Nathalie Leblond concluded; “Children who are brought up without this understanding and who are allowed to play in the dirt may become prone to specific issues such as recurrent bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections because the umbrella of basic hygiene is not present.”

2. What is the most important hygiene lesson for kids that you instil during the school day?

The most important thing I teach my kids is to wash their hands before eating and after going to the toilet. Simple, but impactful.

We couldn’t agree with Michelle more! If you have kids, make sure you also teach good hand washing habits at home.

Keep your classroom safe from germs with our comprehensive school hygiene kit!

3. What is the most unhygienic thing you’ve seen a child do?

Most probably children that pick their noses and then eat it! You also then need to consider, whether they washed their hands!

4. How do teachers stay healthy considering little people are sick rather often?

I personally have built up a strong immune system and I love hugging the children. I am not at all concerned about the contact. I believe children of this age (3 - 4) need love and often this will involve holding their hands and comforting them. It is important to stick to a good hygiene routine including, washing your hands regularly.

5. Any tips and tricks you’d like to share with fellow teachers and parents to instil good hygiene practices in children?

Nothing out of the ordinary. Washing your hands and having paper towel or your own face cloth to dry your hands is important. Sharing a towel to dry hands is not hygienic.

As a parent, you can also look at these tips to teach your kids about good hygiene practices. 

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Lemay Rogers

Lemay Rogers

Lémay Rogers is the Marketing Manager for Rentokil Initial. When not contributing to the Initial blog, she is the custodian of all things Marketing for Rentokil Initial South Africa, and supports the Sub-Saharan African businesses. As a frequent traveller AND mother of a toddler, she is all too aware of how easily germs can travel with us, from one location to another and then back to our homes. Follow Lémay on Twitter and LinkedIn for practical advice on good hygiene practices, both at home and in the workplace.

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