Teaching Kids Proper Hand Washing

The easiest way that you and your little ones can fight off germs and illnesses is by washing your hands. Teaching a child at a young age how to properly wash their hands can do wonders for not only their health but the health of those around them. Can they still get sick? Yes, but the chances are way lower.

Start by teaching them when they should wash their hands. This includes after using the restroom, before they eat, after they eat, and after touching anything that may warrant hand washing like finger painting, playing in a sandbox, playing with animals, etc. You should especially remind them to not make contact with others or touch their own eyes, nose, or mouth until they have washed their hands.

Getting a good hand-washing routine in place will help your child not only learn how to properly wash their hands but help them remember to do it. Some children may feel as though washing their hands is an annoyance that they can skip to get back to their fun faster, but you should let them know the reason they are doing it and how easy/quick it is. Twenty seconds is all the time it takes. If they don’t want to count to twenty (or don’t know all of their numbers yet), they can also sing songs like Happy Birthday, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, or the ABC’s. Of course, the time it takes to wash their hands may take longer depending on the mess.

In this twenty-second window, your child should start by wetting their hands in the running water and applying the soap to their hands. It does not take a lot of soap to do the job, only one pump from the dispenser should do fine. Next they should wash both sides of their hands, between their fingers and thumbs, under each fingernail, and their wrist. Once done, have them stick their hands back under the running water to rinse off all of the soap. Don’t have them turn off the water with their bare hands but by using a paper towel or tissue paper. They should never use the same towel to dry their hands and turn the water off.

Hand washing is an easy first step in combating the spread of germs. We have provided two hand washing guides below as reminders to your little ones of what to do until they make it a habit.

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