Hand washing is one of the best things we can do to protect ourselves from the spread of germs and illnesses surrounding us every day. As parents, we want to encourage our children to develop healthy hygienic practices, but it is often difficult for children to understand the importance of handwashing. However, with consistency and practice you can teach your children to make proper handwashing become a habit they will carry with them throughout their life. Here are a few tips that will help parents encourage healthy hand washing practices:
Explain Why Hand Washing Is Important
Children are naturally curious and love to ask “why”. This curiosity is what they use to learn life-long habits and behaviors and how to tackle the world around them. The good news is that there is a simple explanation you can provide to answer “why” handwashing is so important. You should remember to handle the question with care and answer in an age-appropriate manner that will explain handwashing helps prevent the spread of germs without scaring your child.
Lead By Example
Leading our children by example is often one of the best ways to get them to make something a habit. If your children see you washing your hands on a regular basis, they are more likely to want to pick up the routine too. Try to incorporate regular handwashing into different parts of your daily routine – for example, wash your hands as soon as you get home, before and after meals, and after playing with pets.
Make Hand Washing Fun And Exciting
Hand washing can seem like a mundane and boring task, but it doesn’t have to be. You can make the experience fun and exciting for children by investing in fun liquid hand soap, a steep stool that will make it easier for them to reach the sink, and their own personal hand drying towel. To encourage your children to wash their hands long enough to effectively kill germs – at least 20 seconds – make it fun by using that time to sing a song, dance, or count out loud. Finally, make sure you end the experience by offering your child praise or a reward. A reward for a child doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, often a sticker or a high-five is enough to satisfy a child. Children love receiving praise, especially from their parents, so this can be an important step in making healthy handwashing practices a routine.
What To Do If Your Child Gets Sick
Even with the best hygienic practices, everyone still gets sick on occasion. Everyone in the family should continue to wash their hands routinely to prevent the spread of illness to other family members. If your child does come down with symptoms of an illness, contact their primary care provider at Children’s Medical Center to schedule a sick visit. We will do our best to get your child seen as soon as possible.