Running a home childcare facility is no easy task, especially when your childcare space overlaps your home space. Having family members and childcare children intermingling on a daily basis can make the task of sanitizing a seemingly non-stop process. Between washing hands, wiping down tables, toys, and equipment, I am sometimes surprised that we get anything else done. Then add 3 toddlers into the mix, just learning to keep things out of their mouths, well, let me say my hands are usually dry and raw, and my nails... I can't even go there ;)
I try my best to keep the kids healthy and safe, but children in childcare settings have a greater tendency to pick up and spread germs, no matter how many times we wash hands or Miss Michelle washes down the tables and toys. It is not often that we are aware that our child will come down with the stomach bug, or that a fever will be coming on at lunch time, and by the time some of these symptoms come out, kisses and hugs have been passed out, a well meaning check of a friends teeth (by sticking fingers into each others mouths) is often started and completed before I can blink my eye, and a shared goldfish will sometimes be handed out to a best friend, and isn't it best after it's been coughed on, or handled while they make their decision to share. So, even if a parent wanted to help stop the spread of an illness, it is not always possible. Illness is never fun, but no matter how much Lysol or Clorox we use, sometimes it is just a matter of time before it makes it's way to your house.
Washing hands is our best defense in this battle against germs, and teaching our little ones to wash their hands correctly is an on going lesson. When our children are excited to get outside, or eat lunch, they sometimes rush through their hand washing routine. Here at Kozy Kids we get our hands wet, turn water off, pump some soap on, sing a song while we scrub those fingers (any song will do, but I made up one that the little ones love... it goes... This is the way we wash our hands, wash our hands, wash our hands, this is the way we wash our hands at Miss Michelle's. This is the way we scrub our hands, scrub our hands, scrub our hands, scrub, scrub, scrub, scrub, scrub... at Miss Michelle's... then... this the way we rinse our hands, rinse our hands, rinse our hands, at Miss Michelle's. They kids will dance in place as we sing it, but it also lets them know the words to the process that sooner or later they will complete on their own) Then we have the fun of using the hands free paper towel dispenser. It is a process, but usually one that the kids look forward to.
So, I ask myself how does it happen? Do they pick up here or on the cart at the grocery store?? How does a stomach bug swoop in from seemingly nowhere and claim the breakfast, lunches, or snacks of my dear little friends, my own children, or even myself?? What did I miss?? What toy didn't I see go into a mouth and then back on a shelf?? Oh, I know I'll never have an answer to these questions... but it doesn't stop me from trying to figure it out. It doesn't stop me from wiping, sorting, spraying, and washing on a daily basis. Childcare is a funny place isn't it. A place to share learning and growing with each other, but also to share those precious germs that wiggle onto each and every one of us.
Take Care, Stay Well, and Wash Those Hands!!!