Hey Kids, Hand Washing is Good, Clean Fun!

  • Winter 2019

Woman and child washing hands imageDo your kids resist washing their hands? Is it hard to get them to wash well and long enough to make a real difference? It’s no wonder, especially when 33% of adults don’t wash their hands after using the restroom, and only 5% of adults wash their hands the recommended 20 seconds!

You could tell your children that hand washing is the number one way to reduce illness, from colds to diarrhea. Or that washing their hands will help them keep their friends healthier so they can play more. But just in case that doesn’t work, we have some tips.

First, let’s talk about the proper way to blast those germs!

1. Be sure your child can properly reach the sink and the soap. Consider placing a step stool in front of your little one’s own special sink.

2. Wet hands with clean, tepid running water. Hot water doesn’t kill any more germs than warm or cold water, and it can dry sensitive skin.

3. Use soap, any soap. It doesn’t need to be antibacterial, but you do need to lather up for
20 seconds. 

4. Be sure to wash between fingers (including the web between your thumb and forefinger!), backs of hands, wrists and under the nails where germs like to linger. 

5. Rinse and dry with a clean towel.

Have a good time

Once you have the technique down, make washing hands fun:

Get interesting soap: Does your child love to play with foam? Does he like to play with soap bars shaped like fish? Does she love different scents? Any soap will do, and letting your children choose their favorites will make them more likely to use it.

Play pretend: Your superhero can take on the quest of battling germs. Your detective could practice patience for the next big stakeout. The little dinosaur can avoid extinction by staying clean. Whatever they like to do, use it during wash time.

Sing a 20-second song: Belt out a rousing rendition of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” or the “Alphabet Song.” Better yet, have your children make up their own songs to sing every time they wash their hands.

Use glitter: Put a little glitter on kids’ hands and let them go play for 10 minutes. Then walk around the house and see where the glitter is. That’s where germs go, too!

Wash your hands: Remember, children learn from your example.

Use sanitizer: Carry a hand sanitizer with you, so you can clean up when soap and water aren’t available. It’s not quite as effective, but it’s the next best thing.


1 https://facts.net/hand-washing/index.htm#prettyPhoto.