Teaching children from an early age about washing hands and learning about germs. If children don’t get into the habit of washing hands well and often (especially when they’re sick) they can pick up germs from other sources and then infect themselves. The most common way children catch cold is by rubbing their nose, eyes after the cold viruses has gotten on to their hands. By frequently washing hands the right way, you’ll wash away germs.

When should you wash your hands?

  • After using the bathroom
  • After blowing your nose or coughing
  • Before eating
  • Preparing of food
  • After touching pet or other animals
  • Outdoor activities
  • When your hands are dirty
  • Changing Nappies

While it can be hard getting younger children into good hygiene practices, it’s believed that habits learned young are more likely to become embedded and stay into adulthood. Like teeth-cleaning and covering mouths when we sneeze and cough, washing hands needs to be part of everyday life. Make every day routines fun with washing hands. Show your child how to switch a tap on and off, how to use the soap, how to rinse and dry their hands. It’s a great idea to get your child into the habit of washing their hands before meals, after playing outside.  Make it fun with these silly songs.

This rhyme is sung to the tune “Row, row, row your boat”.

Wash, wash, wash your hands, and get them very clean.
Do the rub, do the scrub, germs are very mean.

Wash, wash, wash your hands, we should do it twice.
Do the rub, do the scrub, germs are very mean.

Top and bottom, top and bottom.
In between, in between.
Scrub them all together, scrub them all together.
Now they’re clean! Squeaky clean!

Tips for Parents

Make it easy

Provide a child-safe stool or step so that children can reach taps and basins easily.

Make it a fun experience

Use fun-looking soap pumps or brightly colored little soaps, maybe in fun character shapes that are just for them. Having a special song to sing while washing hands.

Good hand washing behaviour is learnt from the Parents

Children are visual and learners – they learn best by seeing and doing. They also love to be big and copy what Mum and Dad do. So make sure they see you wash your hands at key times, and talk about what you’re doing.

Talk about Germs

Children need to know why they’re washing their hands and understanding they are making the germs disappear (like magic)

Routines

Children respond to routines so make sure they know when they should be washing their hands – for example, after going to the toilet, before eating, after playing with pets etc.

Being consistent and explaining the importance of hand washing will help to get children in to a good hand washing routine. Making it in to a game will encourage children to learn and have fun at the same time.

© Teresa Boardman, Nanny Options.


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