We know how important regular hand washing is but often our kids do not. In fact, washing your hands several times a day can be a huge bother for little ones and they will most likely not understand why this chore has to be repeated. Below is a guideline to perfecting the task of hand washing as well as some tips on helping your little ones get into the habit of properly washing their hands without the whinging.
Washing your hands is important as it prevents germs from spreading. Your children should be in the habit of washing their hands several times during the day, including before and after meals, after using the bathroom, after playing outside, after playing on public equipment such as a public playground, before and after visiting a sick friend, after blowing their nose or coughing and after playing with animals.
A Quick Guide to Hand Washing
Teaching your kids how to wash their hands is important. Make sure you are actually doing it right by following the guide below.
- Rinse your hands with warm water.
- Place a dollop of soap in the middle of each hand
- Rub your hands together to work up a lather on both sides of your hands, your wrists and in-between your fingers.
- Continue to work up a lather for fifteen seconds. Perhaps ask them to sing the Alphabet Song or count to fifteen when they are washing their hands so they know how long to lather for. This can also make the process a little less tedious for them.
- Rinse your hands with warm water
- Dry with a clean towel
Making Hand Washing Easier for Your Kids
Use a Visual Reminder until hand washing is ingrained into their heads, it is a good idea to leave little reminders around the house. Make a poster to hang in the bathroom as well as one on the fridge to remind your kids, and yourself, to wash their hands. You may even want to use a rewards chart where your kids get a sticker anytime they wash their hands during the day. After they receive a certain amount of stickers, they get a bigger reward, such as a chocolate or a gummy.
Let them Do it Themselves, having a stool in place at the kitchen sink, laundry room sink and bathroom sink means that your little ones will be able to easily access the tap and soap without relying on you. This will help them gain independence and most likely make them more willing to wash their hands.
Have a Backup Plan, while most public places will have a wash room and thus a sink and soap handy, this is not always the case. It is a good idea to have water free soap or antibacterial wipes in your baby bag or in your purse at all times. That way, you can give them a quick hand wash even if there is no sink in sight. This is especially good after playing at the park, when they want a little snack in the car during road trips and after patting a dog on a walk down the road.
Use Special Towels and Soap, the next time you are at the shops, let your kids choose the soap that they want to use. There are several different choices out there and many come in fun colours and bottles. Furthermore, let each child pick out a special towel to hang in the bathroom that will be their own individual hand washing towel. Just make sure you grab a few backups for laundry day. Having a towel for each child is a good way to prevent germs from spreading and to make it a little more fun for kids to wash their hands.