Flu Season Parenting Tricks, Part 2 of 2

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I mentioned in part one of this two part series that I take treat my kids’ hygiene habits very seriously and not just because we’re at the start of the flu season.  I believe strong hygiene habits are a year round practice that can be life saving so today I want to share with you some home grown hygiene tricks that I use with my kids:

The Give Me Knucks Trick: This trick refers to showing your kids to tap knuckles with strangers that may want to shake their hands instead of shaking strangers’ hands.  I’m not sure if its culturally impolite to some but I don’t mind because handshaking is one of the most popular ways people casually transmit germs to each other.

Whenever my kids do knucks with adults the adults always think the kids are being cute but what my kids are really doing is trying to be friendly without being rude.  Sometimes my kids will do knucks with adults out of consideration for them because the kids are the ones who may have dirty playground hands.

Dangerously dirty hands: On the similar note to “knucks” is my “dangerously dirty hands” trick.  This means that I’ve taught my kids that whenever their hands have touched something that’s visibly or invisibly dirty, such as the handle of a trash can, they must believe their hands are “dangerously” dirty.  I tell them that germs are like invisible radioactive killers that want to hurt them or others so they need to think of their dirty hands as being able to contaminate anything they touch with their unclean hands.  (I tell not to worry about dirt or mud so much because that’s just part of playing in the grass, a totally different thing that they should not obsess about).

Door Handle Trick: In my earlier post I mentioned that most people don’t wash their hands regularly and that one of the worst places you see this happen at are public restrooms.  Knowing this, I teach my kids that they need to do everything possible to avoid touching doors or door handles at such public places as restaurants, malls, banks and especially public bathrooms.

Because every door is different my kids know most every trick in the book to open one without using their bare hands.  My children will use their bodies, kick doors open, use paper towels, use the back of their hands or even wait for people to open a door to avoid opening doors with their bare hands.

Disgusting Plane and Airport Rugs: I don’t really have a name for this trick but basically I teach my kids to never play in airport rug floors especially near bathrooms.  In case you’ve never noticed, the men’s restrooms in those places always have urine splattered on the floors.   I spend a lot of time in airports so I cringe whenever I see parents let their children crawl through airport floors.  If you think airplane carpets are better, don’t bet on it.

Hotel Bed Covers and Decorative Pillows: Whenever we travel with the kids we never let them sit or lie down on hotel bed covers or pillows.  I’m not a hotel housekeeping expert but I know that when it comes to routine cleaning the only things that are regularly washed and changed are the bed linens and towels.  Our family’s custom is to pull off hotel bed covers and decorative pillows as soon as we get inside our room.

Well, I’m not sure if I’ve made you disgusted or mad at me today for being so blunt but I really hope these tricks encourage you teach your kids stronger hygiene habits.  Who knows, maybe the next time we see you and you’re children, you’ll give our family some knucks.

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