Look Ma, No Germs!

"Now wash your hands". We've seen it, command like, in every restaurant restroom, but how does it translate at home? The basic rules are to wash hands before preparing or eating food, after coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose and after using the bathroom. Here are some tips to help encourage your children to wash their hands!

children washing their hands

Getting clean

Getting your kids to regularly wash their hands can seem like a never-ending chore, but it's something that will benefit the whole family.

1Smart soap

Get them their favourite soap -- many kids like the ease and tactile sensation of liquid and foam soaps, and these usually smell great -- to encourage them to wash well.


"Happy washday"

Teach them to wash by rubbing with soap under running water for 15-20 seconds. This is about as long as it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice.

3The towel test

Leave out a white hand towel for them to use to dry their hands. If dirt shows up on the towel, they're not washing their hands properly.

4The marker test

It's a dirty trick, but it works. Use a non-permanent pen to draw some little squggles on their hands, then tell them they need to wash off all of the ink. We suggest this tip only for the hardcore reluctant hand washers. It's rather extreme and they might even like the stamp.

5Doing it right

Washing your hands doesn't just mean rubbing your palms and fingertips: you need to wash between your fingers, around and under any rings, under and around your nails, and even up your wrists. Tell them to pretend they are doctors preparing for surgery.

6The rubdown

Every week [at least], wash down bathroom surfaces -- such as handles and knobs and the toilet seat -- with an antiseptic wipe.

7Proof of concept

Maybe your kids need to understand why hand washing is so important, so explain the basics: germs get on your hands from everything you touch, and everything you touch gets germs from your hands. The simple task of washing hands has saved millions of lives and kept people from getting illnesses and infections. Do not scare, simply inform.

8Give 'em a wipe

For times when soap and water aren't available, give your kids individually-wrapped disinfectant hand wipes or a small bottle of hand sanitiser to use.

Tags: child clean handwashing hygiene


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