We know that it’s not always easy enduring the winter months in your classroom. The days seem so long, cold and gray, and winter woes affect teachers and students alike. Aside from your students feeling extra antsy, you’re probably also dealing with a lot of sick kids, especially during the flu season. When you’re in such close quarters, it’s very easy to share germs, so we have a few tips that can help you survive the winter!
Wash your hands!
Germs are transmitted via our hands more than any other way so a proper hand washing technique is one of the most important habits your students should learn when it comes to good hygiene. A way to get even the youngest kids to wash their hands for the recommended 20 seconds is by encouraging them to sing “Happy Birthday” twice while washing their hands. Frequent hand washing will lessen the possibility of a winter-time germ spreading and infection in your classroom.
Active play is exercise, and exercise strengthens the immune system enabling healthy kids to more easily fight off coughs and colds. While recess and outdoor physical education are often reduced when it’s cold and snowy outside, it’s important to still make outdoor exercise a priority. It’s tempting to ease off on physical activity during the winter months, but ensuring your kids get a daily dose of fresh air is important when they’re cooped up inside with all of the classroom germs circulating in the air.
Eat healthy foods!
One of the best ways to prevent winter colds is to teach your students rules for healthy eating. Comfort foods are the typical go-to dishes so it can be difficult to contain your appetite. We also have to get through the Holiday season where cookies, cakes, and candies seem to be everywhere. One way to promote healthy eating is to educate your students on eating a balanced meal. The USDA has some great classroom tools that can help you integrate nutrition education into your math, science, language arts, and health classes.
Sharing isn’t always caring. Kids are often tempted to share items like food, drinks, or chapstick. Make it clear that, while sharing toys is nice, sharing things that touch your mouth spreads germs. If school supplies and materials are shared, the school staff needs to take precaution by sanitizing shared items on a daily basis. Surfaces that are touched often by students such as keyboards, doorknobs and hands-on learning materials need special attention.
Stay home if you are sick!
Most schools have a sick policy to prevent the spread of germs and it is wise to promote it in your classroom. Make sure your parents and students are aware of the policy and keep an eye on students that may come to school sick. Due to the workload, it is often difficult for students to miss school so implementing thoughtful rules for make-up work is key. Remember, encouraging perfect attendance may not encourage a healthy classroom!
The The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has established guidelines to help schools prevent the spread of illness. Infections spread in schools so easily because students and teachers are in close contact but there are things everyone can say to stop the spread of illness. Start by saying these five simple phrases and you can help your students stay happy and healthy all year long!