This is a sponsored post in partnership with Community Care Plan.
Proper hand washing is the best way to keep children from getting sick and spreading icky germs. With a stream of warm water and soap as your weapon, you have all the tools to teach its importance!
Now, more than ever, hand washing is a crucial healthy habit to teach our children. Even if it’s considered an essential life skill that becomes natural over time, doing it the “right” way isn’t always so easy. If you’re struggling to get your children to practice effective hand washing techniques, these 6 tips will steer you in the right direction … towards a sink filled with soapy water!
BE A GOOD ROLE MODEL
With all good habits we try to instill in our children, it’s always best to practice what you preach. Make it a habit of washing your hands with your child, whether it’s before a meal or after using the restroom. Get into a routine in which it becomes second nature to hand wash as a family. Show them how to get their hands wet and lathered with soap. They will learn best when those around them set the example first. As recommended on Community Care Plan’s poster, we should be following these five steps every time: wet, lather, scrub, rinse, and dry.
CREATE A HAND WASHING CHART
A printable hand washing chart is an easy and fun way to get your child interested in a scrub-a-dub-dub session! Print multiple or laminate one copy for continuous use. Check off their activities or place small stickers in the boxes to keep track of their progress. This is an excellent method to encourage repetition and the development of a healthy habit that they will carry into adulthood. Place a chart in their bathroom and kitchen area so that they can check off each time they practice proper hand washing throughout the day.
MAKE IT FUN
For younger children, make the hand washing experience special by purchasing a character themed dispenser or scented soap. Keep various bottles under the sink and allow them the opportunity to choose which soap they would like to use for the day or week. Whether it’s solid, foam, liquid, or filled with tiny beads bursting with scent, the feeling of soap is intriguing to kiddos. Find what they like and roll with it. There are an infinite amount of formulas out there. You’re bound to find at least one that will get them interested.
TEACH THEM ABOUT GERMS
45 times a day. 7 days a week. Kids love to ask “WHY?” It’s just a part of being a small person with an inquisitive mind that craves answers. It doesn’t need to be scary or traumatizing, but explain why they need to wash their hands and how icky germs can be. When Toodie was younger, she would ask me to Google everything under the sun. I took this as an opportunity to pull up appropriate information and images that would answer her many questions. When you explain germs and the illnesses they cause, make sure to keep it simple to ensure they understand. Show them how germs appears under a microscope or allow them to draw what they think a germ may look like!
SING A CATCHY SONG
Did you know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) actually has their very own animated “Happy Handwashing Song” for children? It’s sung to the tune of Happy Birthday and encourages them to wash the germs away. If that’s not your jam, a simple YouTube search will uncover a plethora of catchy tunes to get them engaged. Popular songs like “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen or “Where You Are” featured in Moana, are impossible not to sing-a-long with. This is your tool of distraction parents! Belt out the lyrics with your children and after a few verses, they won’t even remember that they need to wash those little hands for more than 20 seconds. Regardless of which you choose, try and pick a tune that is the same length of time that they should be washing their hands for.
USE GLITTER GERMS
Yes, you read that correctly. I said it, GLITTER! This is one of the oldest tricks in the book and I’ll tell you why. Kids are mesmerized by this sparkly craft time staple that sticks to absolutely everything in sight. It’s a pain the clean up, but a secret weapon in getting them to clean their kids for longer than 10 seconds. Add glitter to your child’s hands. Have them rub them together so it’s spread all over their palms and fingers. Explain how the specs of glitter are like germs, sticking to our skin and refusing to come off until they experience a good scrub! Then, have them go to town washing the “glitter germs” off.
You can find additional tips on how to wash hands properly and effectively by visiting the Community Care Plan website.