How to Teach your Children about Proper Hand-Washing and the Reason for it


Proper hand hygiene is the best way to prevent the spread of germs and viruses. Hand-washing is an easy, cheap, and effective way to prevent the spread of germs and keep kids and adults healthy. How can you get your kids into the hand-washing habit? Here are a few tips for you:

  1. Share how hand-washing can help. Why is it important to wash your hands? Explain to your children that hand-washing helps prevent them from getting sick and making other people sick.
  2. Tell your kids when to wash their hands. Advise them to wash their hands before eating, touching their mouth, nose, eyes, or before touching a cut or scrape. Also talk to them about washing their hands after going to the bathroom, playing with pets or other animals, playing on a playground, being close to a person who is sick, touching garbage.
  3. Make hand-washing fun by singing the alphabet or the “Happy Birthday” song twice. Both work as a good timer that children will remember – and enjoy. 
  4. Talk about when to reach for the hand sanitizer. Explain that hand sanitizers don’t work well when hands are visibly dirty and greasy. Soap and water are best because they remove dirt, grease, and germs fully.
  5. Lead by example, remind as often as needed and be patient. It takes time for a child to get into the habit of hand-washing, and do it properly. Make sure to give help when needed.

Click here for the CDC Guidelines for proper hand-washing, the frequency needed, times to wash your hands and the importance of hand sanitizer being 60% alcohol based to be effective if you can't use soap and water.

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