When my son was younger, I definitely spent too much time chasing him with a washcloth!
In order to always be prepared, I would carry an extra pack of travel wipes in my diaperbag.
I thought my home and especially kitchen needed to be excessively clean!
Now, I think I went a little bit overboard:)
Of course kids need to wash their hands! Along with immunizations, washing hands is one of the best defenses against illnesses.
However, reports on the news are conflicting and therefore confusing. On one hand we hear about scary new illnesses. On the other hand we are told that we are sanitizing too much for our own health, possibly leading to increased allergies and antibiotic resistant bacteria. So how far should a parent go with keeping their kids clean?
Here are some facts about germs and keeping your kids clean:
Fact #1: Antibacterial soap is better for your child:
Not true! Studies show that antibacterial soaps don´t keep kids healthier, it may even reduce the effectiveness of antibiotics.
Fact #2: Our homes are full of germs and all bacteria needs to be eliminated:
Not true! In fact our homes are probably just fine. I think the manufacturers of household products want us to believe that our home needs to be sterile. Of course you should scrub your countertops especially when you handle raw meat or fish. We prefer white vinegar to clean our kitchen, it´s all natural and better for your health compared to leading disinfecting wipes. ( more tips on natural cleaning products for your house are coming soon!) Studies show that children who grow up without any exposure to antigens early in life end up more allergic as adults.
Today I am calmer when it comes to keeping my home and son clean. We make hand washing part of our routine. If it happens before every meal or after using the bathroom, it´s more just the way things go. We make sure our son observes us washing our hands so he is more encouraged to do it himself. We also set up a little step-stool and a cute soap in his bathroom so that he would be encouraged to wash his hands as soon as he was able to.
I no longer sanitize my son´s hands after leaving the playground, we just wash our hands as soon as we arrive home.
Don´t try to create a sterile bubble. You can´t prevent 100% of illnesses, but you can try to minimize them.