The truth is, kids don't always feel like washing their hands, let alone know proper handwashing techniques. We also know another truth that isn't too pretty: many infectious disease occurrences could be greatly reduced with proper handwashing. Our tips below make it easier than ever to encourage your children to wash their hands properly.
Teaching Proper Handwashing Techniques
Note: This post was written years ago but updated to promote proper handwashing in this strange time as our country opens back up. Even though social distancing is strongly encouraged, children don't always adhere to the look don't touch policy. Encouraging them to wash regularly and properly, cover their coughs and sneezes, and use hand sanitizer whenever soap and water are not available.
Our duty as parents includes the basics in life like learning about keeping germs at bay by washing our hands regularly. Nasty viruses and diseases like Salmonella, E. Coli, and even Influenza are often passed with hand to hand contact among children. As your kids interact at school, the playground, the library, or even around each other – they must learn how to properly wash their hands for safety.
So, how do we get kids to not only wash their hands – but wash them the correct way? These proper handwashing techniques are a must not just for your children, but also for you as the parent. Check out our steps below and teach your child all about handwashing techniques to prevent nasty colds and flu this winter.
Here are the basic steps you'll want to teach your children about handwashing, and below you'll find our tips for how best to teach your kids consistently.
STEP 1. Wet hands with warm, running water.
STEP 2. Apply soap.
STEP 3. Rub hands together vigorously for 20 seconds.
STEP 4. Don't forget to wash under the fingernails.
STEP 5. Rinse away all soap.
STEP 6. Dry hands thoroughly with a paper towel or hand dryer.
Lead by example. Teach – and show – kids that you wash your hands after going to the bathroom, after coughing or sneezing, after playing with pets, after cleaning up messes, before and after preparing food, and before eating.
Supervise your child's handwashing techniques, and gently correct them if they need to make changes. Let them watch you wash your hands again, as reinforcement.
Make it simple. Make sure there's a kids stool at each sink so your child can easily wash his/her hands with your help. Don't forget to include easy to use handsoap near each sink, too!
Make it fun! Sing the handwashing song! Wait, what handwashing song? There are plenty to choose from, or you can make up your own! For little ones, singing the ABCs (twice!) is perfect.
Read books about germs, and talk about why handwashing is important!
For younger children, these books are ideal:
- Wash Those Hands by Veronica Hammond
- Germs Are Not For Sharing by Elizabeth Verdick
- Let's Get Cleany-Clean! by Jean McElroy
For older children, these may be better choices:
- Blow Your Nose, Big Bad Wolf by Steve Smallman
- Those Mean, Nasty, Dirty, Downright Disgusting, But Invisible Germs by Judith Anne Rice
- Impatient Pamela Learns About Germs by Sarah Overland
Teaching your kids proper handwashing techniques isn't just one of those things you might do, but a must for their health. Without proper handwashing, your kids are much more susceptible to germs. Germs are the root cause of almost every illness children contract. With viruses lingering everywhere, start your children learning these techniques and encourage them to follow them consistently for their health and yours.