5 Ways to Clean and Sanitize Your Childcare Center
As the season of sickness is all around, you as a Director or Owner, need to consider what you can do to help keep your centers safe and sanitized. If you are already a licensed center, I am sure you know all the regular rules about cleaning and sanitizing. Today, I want to review those guidelines and give a few other suggestions as well.
Here are 5 ways that we can help keep our centers clean and sanitized during the sick seasons of the year:
1. The 3 Step Process for Cleaning
Make sure that your team is familiar with the 3 step cleaning process. This is the process recommended by most licensors, but please double check your regulations before enacting a new process.
Here is the process:
- Clean: Clean the surface with soapy water and wipe with a paper towel
- Rinse: Rinse with water and dry with a clean paper towel
- Sanitize/Disinfect: Sanitize and disinfect with a bleach-water solution. Allow the solution to remain on the surface for 2 minutes before wiping clean with a paper towel.
Make sure that your team is doing this process between each activity to ensure the surfaces stay clean and sanitized at all times.
2. Requirements for Handwashing
Now is also a great time to review your center's policy around handwashing and maybe revise this policy as well. To ensure the health of your center in times of seasonal sickness, here are some handwashing guidelines you can follow.
- All must wash their hands when they enter and before they exit the building.
- All must wash their hands before and after outside or indoor recess playtime.
- All must wash their hands before meal or snack time.
- All must wash their hands anytime they touch their face or blow their nose.
By following these handwashing rules, you will limit the passing of germs.
3. Limit or Eliminate Center Served Food
If your center serves food for children, during season times of sickness might be an excellent time to consider limiting or eliminating center served food and having children bring food from home. I understand this may be a hardship for families. If you make this move, then have a pre-packaged option for parents who are unable to pack a lunch or snack for their child.
4. Front Door Drop Off and Pick Up and No Guests
One straightforward way to limit the germ exposure in your center is to limit the number of people who enter the building. This is a great time to enact a pick-up or drop-off line for your center. This will keep the parents in their cars and out of your center.
Also, consider a no guest policy. This would mean no one in the center except for paid personnel and children. I would only enact this policy for a season, but when illnesses are really bad, this is a great move to make.
5. Daily Building Cleaning and Sanitizing
This may be something that you already do regularly, but if not, it is a great habit to start, especially during seasons when sickness is all around. It is crucial to not only sanitize the surfaces, bathrooms, and other commonly used areas but all the toys and manipulatives as well.
Pull out all the toys that the children played with that day and spread them onto the table. Once they are all laid out, spray them with the bleach water solution, and leave them to dry overnight. Follow this procedure with all items that the children are touching each day.
Unless you plan to hand wash fabric daily, I would recommend eliminating all fabric dolls, stuffed animals, and toys during these seasons.
As you navigate these tough seasons of illness in your center, I hope these five tips will be helpful for you. When we are proactive about keeping our centers clean and our children safe, we can help prevent the spread of germs.