Thursday, November 13, 2008


I am waiting for my children to come home. In the meantime, I am worrying about how to approach the whole HIV virus subject with preschool age children. I was hoping I could get some advice from the parents on this blog. How do you approach the subject and how simple do you keep it for the child to understand? I would like the child to understand about universal precautions. Any advice? Thank you in advance!


Leslie said...

There are some very simple children's books on germs that are a good place to start--you can find them on Amazon among other places. We read Germs by Judy Oetting, which introduces the germ concept in a fun and catchy way. This can lead into discussions about germs being on your hands and hand washing, and about how germs can be in blood and how no one should touch other people's blood because it can have "germs" too. From there you can talk about what to do if someone is bleeding, like not touching the blood, calling an adult for help, covering a wound with a bandaid, etc.

Sheri said...

I wish I had thought to pick up some books when we first attacked hygiene/universal precaustions! That would have been a good method because my daughter is very visual. We just discussed it, and afterward to make sure she understood we did a little role-playing, in which we took turns acting out several different scenarios. To demonstrate the danger of not being safe, one of us portrayed the actual "sickness" (that's what my daughter used to call germs) as a horrid creature (I raised my hands over my head, scrunched up my face, and used a scratchy troll voice, kind of like when you do story time and are reading the part of the villain) and the other person pretending to be ill because of the sickness (engaging in exaggerated coughing, sneezing, and mock fainting). In the subsequent versions, prevention of illness was portrayed by showing one of us evading the other one who was playing the role of the sickness (literally outrunning it, and/or dodging it as is playing a game of tag) due to taking precautions i.e. using bandaids, gloves, handwashing, hand sanitizer, etc. I used a similar approach to explain the purpose of her ARV meds; I told her that the meds helped to fight the sickness in her blood, and then we donned our imaginary boxing gloves and punched the air to mimick the "fighting."

JessicaW said...

We have a three year old daughter who is HIV+ and a ten year old who is not. We universally teach them that "only grown-ups should touch blood" so please see a grown-up if someone has blood that needs to be addressed.

We also talk about keeping wounds covered and clean to prevent bad germs from getting in.

We also keep a big stash of wet wipes, hand sanitizer, neosporin and band-aids (with various cartoon characters) handy to encourage good heygine. So far with both kids it's not been an issue. Just today our little one "bonked" her head on a counter and ruptured a mollsecum leison, which was really quite disqusting. This happend as both girls were on the way to brush their teeth.

Our older daughter came out and said "she's ok, but there is blood" Sure enough, I donned some rubber gloves (usually I don't deem this critical from the little bumps and scratches, but this was pretty funky) and the rubbing alcohol and cleaned it up and got a sponge-bob band-aid on it to keep her clean--we don't like to talk about HIV or germs as if she's likely to make anyone else sick at this time, but she knows not to touch blood--even her own if it can be avoided.

We'll teach more about universal precautions later with the little one, but she's just been home a couple of months, so the English isn't there yet.