How to instil good hand hygiene in your children

Charlotte Thompson, 19 May 2020

Now, more than ever is the time to teach your children about good hand hygiene. With the growing issue of the COVID-19 pandemic, you must instil in your children how important it is to wash hands, keep them clean and not touch public surfaces. It’s important for you and your child to also understand that hand hygiene doesn’t just mean washing your hands, but also applying hand sanitiser when soap and water are not available. When performed correctly, proper hand hygiene results in the reduction of microorganisms on hands.

Do you know proper hand hygiene?

If you’re going to teach your child proper hand hygiene, then you should know the details as well! We recommend looking up charts for handwashing and hand rubbing – the two primary methods for hand hygiene. Each method has different tips and you can easily find printable charts that display proper techniques. Here are some simple takeaways you should ensure your child practices:

  • Wash hands for at least 20 seconds
  • Use an alcohol-based hand rub
  • Rub the back and front of hands
  • Allow hands to dry after applying hand sanitiser
  • Use a towel to turn off the faucet, if using a public bathroom

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has a comprehensive breakdown on hand hygiene, inclusive of rubbing and washing, that you can use for your own reference.

Make washing hands fun for kids

Though our little ones can be some of the trickiest to explain this to, there are some creative ways that you can get them to listen. We recommend that you incorporate these elements the next time your child is washing their hands:

  • Sing their favourite song and let them dance while they wash their hands
  • Let them sing happy birthday twice which makes up 20 seconds – the ideal length of time to wash your hands
  • Incorporate a fun faucet extender and stool if your child needs it – your child may become excited to use their new ‘toys’, leading to a positive experience with hand washing
  • Let them choose their hand soap – hand soaps now come in fun bottles with popular kid characters on them. Letting your child choose their own hand soap will make them more excited to use it.

Lead by example

There’s nothing more important than leading by example. If your kids do not see you wash your hands as well, then they’ll never understand the importance of it. Ensure that after you use the bathroom, arrive home and touch the garbage that you wash your hands. Actively tell your child that you are washing your hands after these particular activities. This will make them notice and they may find themselves wanting to follow in your footsteps.

Teach interactively

Come up with fun techniques to teach your child the importance of handwashing and rubbing. Though the method is important, it is also crucial for them to be educated on the effectiveness of handwashing and rubbing. Here are some of our favourite ways to teach your child about the importance of hand hygiene:

  • Search for fun videos that explain the effectiveness of handwashing
  • Print out colourful and explanatory posters that detail the techniques of proper handwashing.
  • Sprinkle their hands with glitter and challenge them to wash it off. Explain that germs are like glitter and that proper hand washing is required to get rid of all of them.
  • With a washable marker, write and ‘X’ on the back of your child’s hand. Tell your child to pretend that ‘X’ represents germs and to make it disappear by washing their hands properly.

Practice makes perfect

It is important to consistently remind your child to wash and rub their hands. Stand with them as they wash their hands and ensure that they do it properly. Make sure that they do this before and after specific activities such as: playing, eating, using the bathroom, going out and playing with their pets.  Do not skip this activity, the more consistent you are, the more quickly your child will learn to wash their hands religiously.

At Young Academics, we understand the importance of hand hygiene. As carers ourselves, we lead by example and practice proper hand washing at all times. We also ensure that every child properly washes their hands before meals and after outings. Though the experience of washing hands can be mundane, we make it fun and interactive for the kids so that they can make it a habit throughout their day.

For more information about Young Academics. Contact us today on 1300 668 993.

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