How to Teach Kids About Germs: A Quick Guide to Germs for Parents by Donna John
With germs in the news right now due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many kids might be scared and anxious, and not fully understand. Small kids should be taught the basics about germs to help reinforce the importance of washing their hands, but you don't want to overload them with too much information. Here are some basic facts about germs to share with your kids:
What Are Germs?
Germs are invisible organisms that can get inside of our bodies and make us sick. You can’t see them with the naked eye – you’ll need a microscope to get a peek.
How Germs Spread
- Germs are most commonly spread when you cough or sneeze. If you cover your mouth with a tissue or sneeze/cough into your elbow, that will help stop the spread of germs. Immediately throw the tissue away and wash your hands.
- Handwashing is a crucial factor in stopping the spread of germs. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
- Sharing food, hugging, kissing, shaking hands, sharing toys, etc., also spreads germs. If someone is obviously sick, avoid these things – and wash your hands often.
The Different Kinds of Germs
- Virus: While viruses need to be inside your body to live, they can survive for small amounts of time on things like cellphones, doorknobs, books, etc. Viruses can cause illnesses such as the flu, measles, chickenpox and coronavirus.
- Bacteria: With just one cell, bacteria can get inside your body and cause illnesses such as pneumonia and ear infections. Not all bacteria are bad. We have good bacteria in our intestines that help with digestion.
- Protozoa: Another one-cell organism that’s most often spread through water. Protozoa can cause infections in the intestines, diarrhea and other stomach ailments.
- Fungi: This multi-cell, plant-like organism grows in damp, warm places. Fungi can cause rashes in humans, like athlete's foot.
Now that your child knows a little more about germs and how they spread, have some fun by printing out and coloring these printable germ coloring pages.
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