Jan 28, 2021

The Hand-Sanitizer Generation

Each generation of kids has its own unique characteristics, adaptations and nuances. 

For the Alpha Generation, (born between 2011 and 2025), using hand sanitizer is as natural as breathing.  They are growing up with the constant use of hand sanitizer due to Covid19 and other risks of contamination.

As parents and church leaders, we always want to do what is best for children and keep them safe.  

When hand sanitizers are used it does decrease children''s exposure to germs.  

Okay...I admit it...I am a germ-aphobic (is that a word?) Not to the extreme, extreme.  But I do take enough precautions to be considered a germaphobic.  Here are a couple of examples. 

When I leave the restroom at a restaurant,  I make sure to not directly touch the door handle if there is one.  I use an extra paper towel to open the door. 

Another thing I do is this - I use hand sanitizer right after looking at a menu.  Did you know that menus carry lots of germs?  One reason is because some people don't wash their hands after going to the restroom and they come back and look at the menu...transferring all of those germs to the menu that you will later use.  

In our current situation, we could say that all of us should be germaphobics at church.  Especially as we re-open our children's ministries.  You can be sure parents are looking to see if you have hand sanitizer stations set up.  Parents want to protect their children and keep them safe.  Providing hand sanitizer stations at church is a must if you want to grow your ministry back to where it was before Covid-19. 

For younger children, it's advised to supervise their use of hand sanitizers.  Children may be tempted to lick there hands immediately after you apply it.  Especially if the sanitizer has a sweet smell to it.  If you have a baby or toddler rub the sanitizer on their hands and then supervise them until it is dry.   

In a nutshell,

  1. Always supervise children when they use hand sanitizer.
  2. A small amount of hand sanitizer is recommended.
  3. Teach children to rub their hands together immediately until the hand sanitizer is dry.
  4. Remind children to keep their hands out of their mouth after the hand gel is applied.
  5. Do not buy hand sanitizers that smell sweet.  Ones that smell good will a bigger temptation to put their hands in their mouth or to lick their fingers.
  6. Keep all hand sanitizers locked up at home or away from your child.
  7. If you think a child has ingested any amount of hand sanitizer, call the poison control center immediately.

The pandemic has ushered in a new level of expectations from parents.  They are going to avoid churches that don't have safety precautions and procedures in place. A clean ministry that has taken the proper steps to insure children's safety, can be a growing ministry...but an unclean ministry will cause parents to avoid your children's ministry altogether. 

If you don't have hand sanitizing stations set up in your ministry, do so immediately.  Today's kids and parents expect it.  Not doing so, could be a big barrier to seeing your ministry begin growing again.  

It will be interesting to see how this plays out long-term with Gen Alpha and their parents.  One thing, I do believe is this - providing hand sanitizers must be part of our new norm at church.  From an early age, safety precautions are being modeled and taught.  Gen Alpha will grow up with the expectation that you will provide it for them at your church.

Check out this cute video that pretty much says it all.  If you are viewing this in an email and can't see the video, you can got to this link to watch it.  It's definitely worth the extra click to see it.

 

Are you using hand sanitizer at your church?  Do you supervise the usage?  Any other tips or insight you may have about keeping kids and parents and volunteers safe at church?  Share them with everyone in the comment section below.

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