Germs in schools often cause major problems, especially during this time of the year. With the flu starting to spread and cold season just starting, it’s important you take time to emphasize the importance of preventing illness in children. Here are five ways to stop the spread of germs at your center or school:

1. Remind children (and adults) of the 20-second rule.

Hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent germs in the classroom. However, it’s important that both adults and children know how to properly wash their hands for it to truly have any effect. According to the CDC, after you wet and lather your hands, you should scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds before rinsing and drying them.

So, how do you help children learn to scrub their hands for 20 seconds? Try the Intellitec Wash and Brush Timer! This special timer gives children visual cues for how long they’re supposed to wash their hands or brush their teeth. Another idea is to have children quietly hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice. Using posters that promote proper hand washing and including books or puzzles about healthy habits in classrooms can also help children learn how to wash their hands.

2. Add touch-free soap dispensers and faucets.

Having to use your hands to get soap or turn off the faucet can make hand washing difficult, which is why adding touch-free soap dispensers and faucets in your school’s bathrooms can play a major role in preventing germs for kids. Check out the Sensor Soap Dispenser and EZ Flow Water Sensor if you’re considering adding hands-free dispensers and faucets. If some of the students in your care are too short to reach the sink, they may be inadvertently touching the sink (and picking up more germs) as they try to wash their hands. Try adding a step or stool to help children reach the sink easier.

3. Use mats that are easy to clean and help prevent germs from spreading.

If your students use mats for naps, playtime, or reading time, make sure the mats are easy to clean and sanitize. Some mats, such as Germ Guard™ Folding Mats, also have sealed seams that help prevent germs and bacteria from traveling within the mats.

4. Talk with parents about related school policies.

Does your school have policies or guidelines for when children need to stay home if they’re sick? Make sure the parents of your students know these policies going into cold and flu season. Ensuring that children are not around children or adults who are sick at school is also good germ prevention for kids. Any visitors that come to the school should also wash their hands before interacting with students.

5. Have hand sanitizer on standby.

Be sure to have some bottles of hand sanitizer available for you and/or your students to use when hands are not visibly dirty. Hand sanitizer is not recommended for children younger than two years old. Remember to keep the bottles out of reach of young children.

How do you stop germs from spreading in your classroom or school? Tell us your tips in the comment section below or on our Facebook and Twitter pages!