Encourage Healthy School Habits

Let's face it: Kids in close quarters like classrooms are going to spread all kinds of germs to one another, right? Probably, but when you encourage healthful habits, kids tend to miss less school because of illnesses they've passed on to one another. The top illnesses that keep kids home are colds, stomach viruses and pinkeye, all of which can be prevented with proper hand washing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.{relatedarticles}Instruct children, big and small, on how to wash hands. It seems like such a simple lesson, and it is, but it goes a long way in killing germs. Ask the child to sing the Happy Birthday song twice to himself as he scrubs hands - the tops, palms, fingers, and in between. Using soap is crucial, but experts say that antibacterial soaps don't work any better than non-antibacterial soaps when proper hand-washing techniques are used. Get kids into the habit of keeping their hands away from their faces whenever possible.

Germs in school settings can live on hard surfaces, like desks, cafeteria tables and doorknobs for up to two hours - whenever the surface is touched and the child rubs his or her eyes, nose or mouth, those germs have an easy way to infect the child. When he sneezes or coughs, teach him to keep those germs away from his hands so they can't move on to other surfaces.{relatedarticles}The best way to do this is to cough or sneeze into the crook of the elbow or a tissue, which should be thrown away promptly. The importance of eating healthfully and drinking enough water should be emphasized to kids - a healthy breakfast in the morning helps them learn better, too. If your child does get sick, then keep him home until he isn't infectious anymore to prevent the spread of germs in the classroom.