Our family got hit hard by the sickness it seems everyone got this year. It gave us a great chance to teach kids sick manners.
Having a sick kid is no fun. (Having a sick husband is worse! But that’s another conversation.) We have some good activities to have on hand when they do get sick, but also want to talk a little about helping kids with manners while they are sick.
Saying “God bless you” is something we have always done in our home and we like to teach that as a polite thing to say much like please and thank you. It doesn’t have anything to do with us being Christian really, but is a polite way to interact with people. It seems to make everyone feel a little better to say “God bless you” after a sneeze and the phase fills our house when someone is sick.
Covering Mouth Manner
Teaching the kids to cover their mouth is important for a myriad of reasons on top of it being polite. Germs are spread while coughing and sneezing. We have homemade wipes we use constantly while we were sick. They are made of a soft fabric and it helped us avoid the sore noses.
When we don’t have a wipe or soft tissue on hand, we teach out kids to sneeze and cough into their elbow. Sneezing and coughing into your elbow helps keep germs off kids hands which they are most likely to use to touch something.
Teaching this to toddlers takes some concentration and reminder, but here is a lesson to help you teach it to your toddler and preschoolers.
Washing Hands Manner
We wash hands regularly especially during sick days. I feel like this in one of those sick manners I would love to see my kids do when I’m not watching. For now, it takes a good bit of reminding, but eventually it will be just as natural as covering your mouth.
Here is the lesson I used to teach my kids how to properly wash their hands. It’s hard to see germs, so be prepared to help kids understand that cough and sneezing means germs can come out of their body.
Cleaning Surfaces Manner
When everyone is sick, there isn’t a lot of activity around the house, but we make it a point to clean door handles and surfaces that are touched regularly. Avalyn is cleaning the bathroom door knob in the picture above. We make our own cleaning spray so it is safe for the kiddos to use.
Here’s our cleaning solution we store in a spray bottle:
1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
1 tbs Blue Dawn
Mix everything in the bottle and shake before use.
Pretend Play Helps with Manners
We love using pretend play to help our kids learn how to act in difficult life situations. Samuel is NOT a fan of the dentist or the doctor, so we visit our local children’s museum to help the kids feel more comfortable in those situations, before we have to go to a sick day doctor appointment. Avalyn is practicing listening to the baby’s heart with a stethoscope. Feeling more comfortable in pretend play is a great way to help with sick manners.
Find more great ideas on how to keep kids occupied during those sick days!
This is such a great post Marie! It’s an often overlooked part of teaching manners, but it is just as important as please and thank you. Our youngest used to try to rush through washing his hands, so we made it a game, after getting the soap on we’d scrub our hands and sing the alphabet song one time for each hand. It helped keep him engaged in the activity and made sure he was spending the right amount of time cleaning. I wish I has seen that activity you shared when he was younger that would have helped quite a bit.
Alli’ last post was: My Word of the Year for 2015
I needed to read this today – we are in our second round of winter colds in a month and there is snot everywhere – sorry! I need some of that spray and we need to wash our hands more often.
Clare’ last post was: 14 Edible gifts for Valentine’s Day that could put Cupid out of a job!
great topic, I love these ideas.
kimberly’ last post was: Teach Your Child to Read (Montessori Early Reading)