Teaching Kids the Value of Hand Washing

Combat Germs with Soap and a Gel Hand Sanitizer

Copyright © Niña Angeli Pilapil; All rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission. Posted July 5, 2012

Schoolchildren washing their hands; photo courtesy USDA


Why is it important to wash hands frequently and properly? Hand washing is a simple body hygiene act that helps us prevent sickness and spreading it to others. There are lots of germs and viruses found anywhere and our hands are the most common carriers.

We can get germs just by holding seemingly harmless objects like a doorknob, grocery pushcart, and other items that are loaded with harmful substances. Kids are no exemption to this.

In fact, they may probably be in more danger because they are prone to pick or hold just about any random item which may be filled with viruses and bacteria, and then stick their fingers in their mouths. Thus they need to learn the value of effective hand washing.

How to Teach Your Kids to Wash Their Hands

There is a fun and effective way to motivate kids to wash their hands before and after eating and whenever necessary. It is crucial for them to develop this habit so they can carry it with them as they grow up. Here are some methods how to train them and drive the point home:

  • Explain to them what the act of hand washing entails. It is advisable to orient them first with what you are about to do. Explain to them the importance of keeping their hands clean. Tell them about the different things they need in washing and drying their hands like water, soap, towel, and others.

  • Set up an ideal area for hand washing. Make it easy for them by setting up an accessible hand washing area. Provide items like soap containers, basin, clean towels or drying cloth, and other accessories, which you think may help your kids develop and maintain an interest in hand washing.

    Don’t forget that there are many bathroom accessories decorated with their favorite cartoon characters or infused with a scent that they may be fond of.

  • Demonstrate the hand washing act first. Before you ask them to wash their hands, show them how it is done first so they’ll have a good idea about it. Make sure to get their complete attention in order for them get it right the first time.

  • Guide them as they try it out on their own for the first time. Let them try the procedure themselves, carefully guiding them as they go about it. Always be ready to offer kind and encouraging words so they will be motivated to continue doing a great job.

  • Vary your sanitary “techniques.” To maintain their excitement in this, try to vary your hand washing techniques so they’ll always look forward to it (or at least not object too strongly).

    You can let them use different sets of colorful and fragrant soaps, basins, and other interesting accessories for each hand washing session.

  • How long should they wash? This is an important question as a quick pass just won’t do it. One guideline that seems to work well with kids is to sing the song Mary had a Little Lamb or some other ditty. When the song is over, it’s time to rinse!

What if a Sink and Running Water are not Available?

Obviously, a proper wash is not always practical. What’s a parent to do? WebMD recommends carrying and using a gel hand sanitizer.

This product has been gaining in popularity in the past few years and is now available in pump bottles, key chain fobs, and other styles. Some brands add ingredients like aloe so the product will not dry your skin out.

Use them in situations such as after strapping the kids into their car seats at the grocery store. Marketing buggy handles are notorious for harboring all kinds of germs. A recent article on Yahoo.com reported that in hotels, TV remotes and light switches were the germiest surfaces, even when the bathrooms are clean. Just use a squirt after handling these items.

Hand washing is a very important body hygiene practice that kids need to learn early on in their lives. As their parent, you’re the one responsible for teaching them that. Help them every step of the way. Are you up for this crucial but fun challenge?


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About the Author:

Niña Angeli Pilapil, a bookworm by heart, is an expert on promotional products used for both marketing and personal reasons. She is employed by Promopeddler.com as their official blogger to write about topics like cheap baby items. This dark chocolate fanatic enjoys her spare time reading books, watching movies, and honing her blogging and sewing craft. If you want to connect with her, follow her at http://twitter.com/ninsbonita.

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