One of the best ways to promote hygiene for little or no cost in elementary schools is to have each student construct a grooming kit to use in the classroom. Provide them with boxes or bags that they can decorate, and have them bring in items such as individual-sized mouth rinse, small combs, facial tissues, paper towels, liquid hand soap and alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Giving your students the opportunity to practice good personal hygiene reduces the risk of illness and keeps children in school.
Dental Hygiene Practices
Impress upon your students the importance of brushing their teeth twice a day and rinsing between meals. Provide an opportunity for the students to rinse after lunch. Have a dentist or dental hygienist come in to speak to your class about dental health, and ask if she can provide samples for each student. Have the children include mouth rinse in each of their grooming kits.
Hair Hygiene Practices
Hair should be kept neat and combed throughout the day. Talk with your students about the importance of washing their hair on a regular basis to keep it free of dirt and germs, and not sharing items that touch the hair such as combs, brushes or hats. Having each child include a comb in his hygiene kit eliminates the need for sharing, and will aid the students in remaining mindful of their appearance.
Hand Washing Practices
Provide either a hand washing station inside the classroom or opportunities to wash hands before and after lunch, after sneezing or coughing, and after recess. Stress the importance of hand washing after using the restroom by creating signs in the washing stations of the restroom or classroom. Make sure the children wash their hands with soap for 15-20 seconds. Having each child stock his hygiene kit with liquid soap, paper towels and individual-sized alcohol-based sanitizer to the class will eliminate the cost of this necessary practice.
Cold and Allergy Hygiene Practices
Typically, children pick up six to 10 colds a year, most of them during the school year. Proper hygiene practices in school and at home can greatly reduce those numbers. Make sure that children are using a tissue or the crook of their elbows when coughing or sneezing. After they cough or sneeze, make sure they thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer.
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