Home > Health & Safety > Let’s Talk…The Facts of Lice

Let’s Talk…The Facts of Lice

January 10, 2012

I suddenly become keenly aware of every itchy feeling when the subject of head lice comes up. While none of us are thrilled to learn we might be dealing with a case of these critters in our program, the bottom line that we must remember is that in the grand scheme of things, this a minor one. Parents might often be upset, but we have to help educate them to the fact that lice are not known to carry disease and are not associated with bad hygiene – even the best scrubbed children can get head lice.

There are plenty of resources available to help you in recognizing and dealing with head lice. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has an excellent front and back flyer – Child Care That Works: Children and Head Lice. Here are some other resources I would also recommend:

In 2002, the American Academy of Pediatrics revised its head lice position, stating that no healthy child should be excluded from or allowed to miss school because of head lice, and that “no nit” policies for return to school should be discouraged.  What are your program’s policies with regards to lice?

Bottom line….there is no reason not to turn a “lousy” situation into a learning experience. I’m hoping you appreciate my humor here! Preschool children can study an enlarged photo of a louse or perhaps you might have access to allow them to examine one under a microscope. Find fun animal videos showing various animals exhibiting “nit-picking” grooming behavior.  Brainstorm with children items that go on or near the head, and then post with visuals as a reminder to not share these items.

I hope to hear from you! What has been your experience with these pesky critters? Do you have a “no nit” policy in your handbook? What are your thoughts on AAP’s recommendation to not exclude children from educational opportunities because of head lice?  Have you ever incorporated lice into your lesson plans?


Malisa Rader

Malisa Rader

Malisa Rader is a human sciences specialist that misses the daily hugs and high-fives from little people.

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  1. Hi! I’d love to know if I am missing the tweet button on this page…I just kind of made up my own because this post is terrific and I want everyone to know about it…@fffamilies – hope it worked! Thank you!!

  2. Hi Amy,

    There is a “Follow me on Twitter” on the right hand side of the page (under the artwork and above the tags). Our twitter account is @talkchildcare. Thanks!!

  3. I had a child come to my home with head lice about 4 years ago, and everyone in my care and their families ended up getting it. It was a horrible thing to get rid of. The child’s family did not tell me that he had head lice until we found it about a week after he got it. By that time every child in my care had this, including a 7 month old child. Everyone in my family got them and many of the parents and siblings of the others in my care got them. It literally took 3 months to completely get rid of the head lice from everyone in my home, and I followed all of the guidlines and more for getting rid of them. We bagged up all stuffed animals, I got rid of all of our pillows (even though it says this is not necessary) I bought all of the supplies to get rid of it, and I even went through everyone’s hair every day and pulled out all of the nits. After this experience I have a pretty strict lice policy. I do require all of the nits to be removed. Luckily I haven’t had to deal with this since then. I would never tell a parent they have to come and get their child if I found a nit in their hair, but I do expect them to make every possible effort to get rid of them.

  4. Hi Chris – Thanks for sharing about your experience. It sounds pretty frustrating, especially that a week went by without the family letting you know! Parents have to trust that we will inform them of contagious infections and diseases so they can be on the look out for them in their child, and we have to trust that they will share with us so that we can be aware also. When a parent (or provider) doesn’t follow through on their end of that trusting relationship to share needed information, it only makes situations worse for everyone. 🙁 Thanks again for sharing!!