Girl and her mother are washing hands

Every day, children may be exposed to germs and bacteria, which is why having proper hand hygiene is important. Educating kids about handwashing practices is a good way to stop the spread of common cold, cough, or more serious illnesses. Ensuring that they clean their hands with a small amount of soap and water may seem like a small action, but it can contribute significantly to a child’s overall health.

Kids might find it troublesome at times to wash their hands, however, by introducing fun activities to encourage proper handwashing, they might take up the good handwashing practice on their own. Some techniques would be to sing a song while they wash their hands or provide color-changing soap that is exciting for kids to use. Below are some guidelines on how to help kids understand the importance of handwashing.

Demonstrate Proper Handwashing Techniques

Before you start helping your children wash their hands, ensure that you demonstrate the proper techniques of handwashing and educate them at the same time.

  • Demonstrate every step of the handwashing techniques carefully and slowly as children tend to learn best through watching and doing.
  • When you are in the process of handwashing, make sure all techniques are properly explained one at a time.

Once you are done, you can follow up on your handwashing methods with stories about the spread of germs and why they are harmful to children and adults. Look for interactive videos or books that captivate your children to encourage fun and excitement to ensure that they understand the importance of handwashing.

When your child is ready to wash his or her own hand, you can assist your kid by following the guidelines below.

Techniques for Proper Handwashing

  • Soak their hands in lukewarm water for 3 seconds.
  • Apply a small amount of soap and gently rub it against their hands for about 20 seconds.
  • While applying the soap on their hands, sing along to a song like “Happy birthday”
  • Ensure that all fingers, wrists, under nails and palm are cleaned thoroughly
  • Rinse their hands until there are no visible soap and dry them off with a clean towel

When your children have learned the basics of hand washing techniques, it is important to remind them constantly to keep their hands cleans in certain situations such as washing before a meal or after using a bathroom.

Remind Your Children to Wash Their Hands Regularly

  • Before eating and after having a meal
  • After they have used the bathroom
  • After sneezing or coughing
  • After doing household chores
  • After interacting with animals or pets
  • After coming home from school
  • After playing outside with friends or at the yard
  • Before and after visiting family and friends who are sick

Whether it’s at home or a child care center, it takes time and effort to get a child into the habit of properly washing their hands and you must always be ready to assist them. Most importantly, children will always emulate the adults. For that reason, it is essential that you wash your hands regularly in front of your children to be a role model for them for proper handwashing. Leading by example and making sure that you practice what you preach is the key to helping your child to understand the importance of handwashing.

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