The Handshake to End All Handshakes
A handshake is always going to help make connections. It's personal. It's been shown that greeting kids with a handshake or high five is one of the best ways to make them feel like they're a part of the group. The only problem is that kids are gross (and I mean that in the most loving way possible).
The best advice I ever got was my first day teaching in a huge school. The custodian came up to me and said, "It's syrup day in the cafeteria... don't let them touch you." Totally saved me from a day of walking around all sticky.
I've always been big on high fives and fist bumps but my hands just get destroyed by the trips to go wash my hands. So I developed "The Thump."
It's just a sideways fist bump. Instead of hitting with the knuckles, you're hitting with the soft side of your fist. It makes for a satisfying "thump" and the best part is how hygienic it is.
I've never seen a kid use the far side of their hand to wipe their nose, their mouth, or even use the bathroom. So with the Thump, you're touching the cleanest part of their hands. Additionally, I don't touch my face or my food or pretty much anything with that side of my hand; so if I do end up getting germs on that part of my hand, I'm all set. See the diagram below for more information.
It's such a great tool and kids find creative ways to make it their own. Sometimes, they'll want to jump. I have a few students who want to hop up and hit my hand with their head. A couple turn it into rock, paper, scissors (which defeats the purpose). All in all, it's a great way to stay healthy while still building relationships with kids.