Did you know that 80% of infections are transmitted by hands? From superbugs to colds and flus, the importance of good hand hygiene for happy healthy kids and adults, cannot be overstated. Here are some helpful tips for creating a good hand hygiene routine for your child.
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Most children and adults don’t get through the winter months without a cold. But some go on to develop more serious infections such as flu or other respiratory infections like pneumonia and everything from diarrhoea to MRSA.
School children are especially vulnerable as they are exposed to all kinds of bacteria and germs that they may not come into contact with at home. Children are also naturally curious and like to touch and feel objects to learn more about them. Their hands can soon become breeding grounds for all sorts of germs.
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How to Wash Hands Well
- Wet your hands with warm or cold water.
- Soap them with a liquid soap or a bar.
- Lather them well, this is the fun part!
- Rub them together palm to plam and around the back for at least 30 seconds, but 1 minute if you can.
- Rinse them under running water.
- Turn water off.
- Dry them well either using a hand drier or a clean towel.
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Tips on Creating a Good Hand Hygiene Routine
Introducing a good hand hygiene routine early on can help prevent the spread of germs that can cause illness. This video is a great example of how to encourage pre-schoolers to get washing. Be warned, the music is very catchy and your little one may have it on repeat!
Preschool Handwashing Song
If you want to join in the chorus is:
Wash your hand, wash your hands
Everybody come along and wash your hands!
Alternatively make up your own song or get them to say the alphabet twice, which will take approximately 1 minute, the optimum time for hand washing.
Lead by Example
The best way to teach your children a good hand hygiene routine is to lead by example. Show them how you wash your own hands and get them to copy you.
Explain Why Good Hand Hygiene is Important
For children going to pre-school or school, talk to them about why it is important to wash your hands. Use simple language and don’t fill them with fear. You want them to enjoy exploring and learning through touch while staying safe.
There are also websites such as e-Bug, which has a series of fun online games for children such as the Bogey Bus, Microbe Mania, Kitchen Mayhem and Super Sneezes to teach them about this in a fun way.
Let Them Choose Hand Washing Products
To encourage your child to always wash their hands, let them choose their own soap or get a fun dispenser that can be refilled. We got a funky frog dispenser when the kids were younger and every child who came to visit loved it as the soap was dispensed through the mouth of the frog.
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Sometimes it can be difficult for younger children to reach the taps, so you could get a step for them to use to make the sink more accessible.
When out and about encourage your child to use hand driers. This can be a challenge as many are very loud, but persevere, as this really is the most hygienic way to dry hands.
At home, ensure you change the hand drying towel regularly and encourage your child to dry their hands fully. You could get your child to choose a selection of hand towels with favourite characters or colours that are especially for their use.
Out and About
I always carry baby wipes with me even though my children are now in their teens. They are handy not just for keeping hands clean on the go but also to mop up the inevitable spills while out and about.
Hand sanitiser gels and lotions are also good and come in small bottles that can be kept in school bags. Be sure to look out for ones with no alcohol and don’t over use them as some products irritate or dry out the skin when used too often.
Reward To Encourage a Good Hand Hygiene Routine
Just as we reward good behaviour, you could reward children for washing their hands correctly to encourage an on-going good hand hygiene routine. This could be done as part of a reward chart or with little treats.
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Do you have tips to encourage good hand hygiene and prevent the spread of germs? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!