Hand washing is one of the easiest ways to prevent illness in children. With the ongoing pandemic and soon-to-be influenza season upon us, it’s more important than ever that your children know how to properly wash their hands before they go back to school.
Steps to proper hand washing:
- Wet hands with warm water and apply soap. Soap doesn’t need to be antibacterial to be effective.
- Scrub all parts of hands– in between fingers, palms, backs of hands, nail beds and wrists. Encourage your child to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, the ABCs, or Happy Birthday twice while scrubbing.
- Rinse with warm water.
- Dry hands with a clean towel or hand dryer.
Beyond the basic steps, here are some tips to encourage hand washing for kids:
- Make it a group activity: show your kids what good hand hygiene looks like. Wash your hands with your kids before and after meals, after using the bathroom, after coughing or blowing your nose, after changing diapers, and after handling things such as garbage, pet waste, pet food, etc.
- Explain the importance of hand washing frequently: Tell your child about germs, how these germs can make them sick, and how well hand washing gets rid of them.
- Consider a reward system: Some kids need some extra encouragement. Consider a reward system that works for your family. This could be a chart that offers them a reward after X amount of times washing their hands or a sticker every time they do.
Here’s an informative video by Science Buddies that can show your kids how well germs stick to your hands and how long they have to wash them to get the germs off: