Back to school

Schools can be a prime place where kids can pick up germs, with curious kids seeking adventure in all kinds of places. Helping to keeping them, their clothes and their belongings clean will help prevent germs from spreading, especially in cold and flu season. It will also give them the freedom to play and roam as they wish, without the threat of infection.

Back to school
Back to school

Hygiene for kids at school

At this time of year, many children are either returning to school, or starting their school life for the first time. Unfortunately, however, school can be the place where children pick up not just knowledge, but germs too! Ensure good hygiene for kids at school by teaching them healthy habits early, including the benefits of a healthy, balanced diet. They’ll get the most out of their school experience without spending time off school ill.

Quick tips for good child hygiene

  • Remind children to wash their hands after using the toilet, before eating, playing outside, and if their hands look dirty. Clean hands are key to preventing the spread of infection.
  • Teach children to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and to throw it in a bin after use, before washing their hands
  • Ensure your child has a varied and balanced diet, whether this is in a packed lunch or school dinners
  • Encourage your child to drink plenty of clean, safe water throughout the day
  • Ensure that school has all the information they require if your child has an ongoing medical condition
  • If your child is acutely unwell, keep them away from school until they are well enough to return

Why is Good Hygiene Important?

Kids mix quite closely with each other, both in the classroom and in the playground. Germs can transfer easily in such situations, and can then spread to the rest of the family when the child returns home. Bouts of the common cold and upset tummies in families are quite common at the start of a new term. Helping your child to understand about good hygiene will go a long way to helping you and the rest of your family stay healthy.

What you should know

Although vaccinations can protect your child from some serious diseases such as tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough, we do not have vaccines to protect children from every type of infection. Studies show that good hygiene practices, in particular keeping clean hands, can greatly reduce the incidence of many common illnesses.

How good hygiene for kids can help

Clean hands

Thorough hand washing is one of the best ways to help stop germs from spreading and causing tummy upsets and other illness. Teach your child how and when to wash their hands properly (for at least 20 seconds). Remind children to wash their hands after using the toilet, before eating, after playing outside, and if their hands look dirty. Teach children to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and to throw it in a bin after use, before washing their hands.

Healthy diet

Whether your child has a packed lunch or a school dinner, a varied and balanced diet will help protect their health and promote proper growth and development. It also aids concentration during lessons. If your child has a school meal, talk to them about making healthy choices in terms of balance, variety and nutrition. Packed lunches should provide a variety of healthy food, with a minimum of high-in-fat or sugary items, such as chocolate, crisps, cakes and biscuits. Water is a healthier choice than drinks high in sugar, sweeteners, additives and even caffeine, so you should encourage your child to drink plenty of water through the day as even slight dehydration can lead to poor concentration, lethargy, irritability and headaches.

When preparing a packed lunch, ensure that you wash and dry your hands before you start and that your kitchen work surfaces have been cleaned and disinfected beforehand. Check all foods are within their best-before dates, and use an airtight, rigid lunch box that you wash and dry before and after use. Wash fruit, salad and vegetables thoroughly and if possible, freshly prepare food each day, as less storage time gives less opportunity for germs to grow.

Dealing with illness

If your child is unwell, keep them away from school until they are better. Children should only attend school if they are well enough to benefit and participate, and not spread their germs to others.

Preventing the spread of germs in cold and flu

Clean hands are important in controlling the spread of illness, especially during cold and flu seasons. Teach your child to wash their hands after coughing and sneezing, and after touching dirty tissues.

Show children how to use a tissue to cover their mouth and nose when they cough or sneeze. Teach them to put their used tissues in a bin and wash their hands afterwards.

Always read the label and use only as directed.