Winter Health and Safety Tips to Teach Your Child

photo-1414541944151-2f3ec1cfd87dThere are several health and safety factors to consider during the cold winter months. Help your children remain safe while spending an increased amount of time in close quarters and during severe winter weather by teaching them the following practices.

Winter presents various health and safety concerns including severe weather conditions, sub-zero temperatures and common illnesses such as virus’s and the flu. As such, these cold months are an excellent time to begin teaching your children smart health and safety practices.

Practice Safety When Playing Outdoors

While outdoor play is an important way to stay active and healthy during colder months, it is important that you help your child become familiar with winter weather safety. Once they understand how best to remain safe while playing, they will be more likely to maintain safe habits moving forward.

  • Sled Smarts: Find a hill with a slope that faces away from any streets and sidewalks, and is also clear of obstacles such as trees, bushes or holes. Teach your child how to engage in safe play by demonstrating safe sledding forms. Model and practice with them how to sit up on the sled, feet out in front. Give them “bonus points” for maintaining proper form on every sled run. Explain that they should always have an adult watching to ensure that they maintain their good technique. The more often your child practices sledding in a safe position, the more likely they will be to repeat it without being prompted to in the future.
  • Weathering the Storm: Teach your child safe winter dress practices by making dressing for winter a fun daily routine. Create a winter-wear station where every important item of clothing has its own designated place and label. Develop a routine or song to be used while dressing that maintains the same sequence. For example: boots first, then gloves, scarf, coat, and hat. Once your child becomes familiar with the sequence, ask them if they remember what comes next. Soon, they will be reminding you what to put on.

Leave Germs Out in the Cold

Some winter days become too cold or icy for children to play outside.  As a result, your child may spend more time indoors with other children, increasing their risk for sharing germs and illnesses. Teaching your child the following practices will help ensure that they keep germs at bay, especially when you are not there to remind them.

  • Hand Washing: Have your child put their hands in a bowl of glitter. Help them wash their hands with water—but not soap. Then, repeat this practice, using soap and water, noting that soap does a better job of removing the glitter, than the water alone. Ask them which method worked better, and what other materials soap could help wash off of their hands. This first-hand experience will help to engrain the practice as a habit, while helping your child to gain a better understanding of germs.
  • Mouth Coverage: Using the same bowl of glitter, cover your own hands and demonstrate an open-palmed sneeze. Have your child observe where the glitter travels. Now explain that if the glitter were germs, it would travel in a similar way. Demonstrate the same action, this time keeping your hands in front of your mouth, or using a tissue to cover your sneeze. Have them try both actions as well and experience for themselves how easily germs spread.

Teaching your child these practices will not only keep them healthier and happier throughout the winter – it will also help you maintain a healthy home. Instilling these practices early on will also help your child develop considerate and health-conscious habits throughout their life.

For more information on keeping your child safe and healthy during the winter months, contact the child care professionals at Celebree Learning Centers today.