NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Now that kids are back in school doctors, expect to see an uptick in COVID-19 and other viruses. One thing you can do to keep kids healthy during the school year is to teach them good hygiene.

Teaching your little ones how to wash their hands is a lesson that can keep them healthy and keep them from missing school.

“Good hygiene has to do with health, and we want to get into healthy habits from the very beginning,” said CHKD parenting expert Michelle Tryon.

Encourage your kids to sing the Happy Birthday song, the Alphabet song, or anything they like that will keep them scrubbing at the sink for at least 20 seconds. Make sure they get the front and back of their hands and in between their fingers.

Remind them also to sneeze or cough into a tissue or the crook of their elbow.

These simple steps can go a long way in stopping the spread of germs.

“Also, good hygiene fits into a child’s self confidence and self esteem,” Tryon said.

Having clean teeth, clean clothes and showering or bathing regularly are things many families take for granted.

“We want to have empathy for that and compassion,” Tryon said, “and not make fun of someone who maybe doesn’t have a clean outfit on everyday. Sometimes families don’t have access to what they need in order to have clean clothes or even to afford shampoos and those sorts of things.”

She wants educators and parents to know there are resources to help.

If you’re struggling, ask your child’s pediatrician, school counselor, or go online to Resources 757.

If, like a lot of families, you’re struggling with a child who just won’t cooperate with cleanliness?

“Give them some choices in that, would you rather take your shower at night or in the morning? Do you want to take it before you watch your show or after,” Tryon said.

She recommends trying to put some power in their hands before you put the soap on them.