Coronavirus Prevention Tactics: How to Get Kids to Stop Touching Their Faces
Experts say avoiding touching your face can help quell the spread of the novel coronavirus. But how do you get kids' busy hands to stop rubbing their faces?
"Get your finger out of your nose" is a phrase muttered by parents the world over. A toddler or preschooler with their finger buried to the knuckle in their nose is a common, if gross, sight and the battle to keep fingers out of noses is a common one. But with the possibility of coronavirus spreading like wildfire, it's more important than ever for kids to fight the urge to dig for nasal gold.
Since the coronavirus, officially called SARS-CoV-2 and which causes the disease called COVID-19, is spread by droplets from coughs and sneezes, it’s quite easily transmissible, making basic hygiene more important than ever. Transmission could occur as easily as touching a doorknob or handrail that someone who had been exposed to the virus touched.
While hand-washing with soap and water or using hand sanitizer is the gold-standard for avoiding transmission of the virus, experts also recommend not touching your face, which, as any parent knows, is a hard thing to accomplish with young kids.
“One way to avoid germs is to prevent them from entering the mouth eyes, or nose. Keep kids’ hands busy so they aren’t tempted to touch their faces,” says Atlanta-based pediatrician Jennifer Shu. Here are a few ideas to curb the nose-itching (or worse).
1. Have Tissues on Hand
Providing kids with tissue for nose-blowing or even to cover their hands to scratch an itch is a great way to avoid skin contact during times of illness. “Washing or sanitize hands often so if they do touch their face, at least their hands are clean,” adds Shu.
2. Give Them Something Else to Do With Their Hands
Providing kids with fidgets, like fidget spinners or fidget cubes is a great way to keep busy hands away from faces and mouths.
3. Keep Hair Out of Their Faces
Stray hairs tickling children’s faces is another major cause of face touching. The urge to wipe the hair away or push unruly locks back off the forehead can lead to kids touching their faces frequently. Keeping short hair trimmed or long hair pulled back so it doesn’t tickle their faces is another important step in avoiding face touching, says Dr. Shu.
4. Stay Away From Sick People
It might seem obvious but always try to stay at least six feet away from people who are coughing or sneezing. With a little extra dedication to hygiene and a little more awareness of where our kids are putting their hands, we can help keep them safe, not only from COVID-19, but from influenza and the common cold.
The good news is that the virus washes away with soap and water, so just keeping your hands clean is a great line of defense—even with a nose scratch here and there.