We have heard experts say that washing your hands and avoiding touching your face is half done to stop the spread of Covid-19. But it is not easy to keep the hands of our little ones busy, to forbid them to get “catotas” / “monkeys” out of their noses, let alone explain that to them. We therefore offer strategies that can be useful in the fight against the virus, helping them to decrease such normal and common behavior as putting your hands on your face.
1. Use positive reinforcement
Children respond better to positive reinforcement than to criticism or correction. Praise the child whenever they don’t have their hands on their face, instead of preventing them from doing so. Create small incentives to reward her whenever she doesn’t touch her face, whether it’s stickers, healthy candy, or small toys. Thanks to your statements, the child will understand what he should not be doing, for example “Very well! Your hands are in the right place! Or “I’m so glad you didn’t touch your face!” “.
2. Fabrics always at hand!
Put tissues around the house and encourage your little one to use them whenever he wants to wipe his nose or touch his face. Teach him that after using a tissue, he should always put it in the trash. And also teach him to wash his hands after blowing his nose.
3. Help your child to become more aware
While positive reinforcement is essential in this type of behavior, if you help your child become more aware of their actions, the frequency with which they touch their face will likely decrease as well. To do this, just signal whenever you see the little one with his hand on his face. Warning: signage is neither rumbling nor prohibited! By simply saying “Son, your hands are on your face …” or by creating a code word that you both understand its meaning, like “peach”, you will see that he will love it. Only the child’s body awareness and mindfulness will work. It is also important to talk to your child about the goal of reducing this habit and to explain to them that mom and dad are also trying to do this and how they are doing it.
4. Short haircuts or tousled hair
No one likes to have their hair in front of their eyes! When the child is playing and the hair is escaping towards the eyes or mouth, tickling the face, it is normal for the child to try to lock it again. For this, it is inevitable that you touch your hands with your face. For this reason, choose short cuts or disheveled hair, so that it is not a nuisance or a cause of contamination for the child.
5. Keep your little hands busy!
If the child has his hands free, he will more easily touch his face. So give it something to move, touch and / or hold, more or less regularly. Give away toys, such as magic cubes or fidget spinners, that occupy your hands. When we inhibit behavior, that is, when we ask the child not to do something, we ask that the prefrontal cortex be fully functional, which does not happen until the age of 25. .
6. Explain the virus to him
If your child is at least 3 years old, explain to them what Covid-19 is, how it is spread if we touch our face, and what we can do to prevent its transmission. There are many ways to educate children about the virus through fun games and activities. Believe that, if your child has a better conceptualization of the virus, if you try to involve him in this process, it will be more motivating for him to reach the goal, which is not to touch the face!
7. Wash your hands well!
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It is important to remember that no matter how well we explain the virus to the child and do everything possible to avoid getting our hands on our faces, it will be impossible to completely control this type of behavior. Therefore, it is important to act in prevention, by washing your hands regularly. Teach your little one to wash their hands well, which means singing the congratulatory song until the end, and disinfecting it, keeping in mind that this habit must extend beyond the pandemic!
Consult our recommendations on returning to school during a pandemic in our workshop.
The author writes according to the new orthographic agreement.