We all know how important handwashing for toddlers is. As a mother of a preschooler, I’m on the same path as many other parents, teaching my kid to adopt this important life habit. Proper hand sanitization has to come naturally to our little ones. Generally speaking, young children are much more likely to learn something if the parent leads by example and if the process is a game. As you will see from my video (below), it isn't easy! I'm actually doing different parts of the list on different days, breaking the process down into digestible junks
So, here are Clean Buddies™ top ten tips for teaching preschoolers how to properly wash their hands:
- Make it easy for your child to reach the sink, by for example setting up a stool to help them comfortably reach.
- Set out colorful, interesting soaps – if you haven’t got any, take your usual bar of soap, and cut or break them into a smaller sizes to fit well into your child’s hand. Let them enjoy the sensory experience of the soap, wet and dry. If your child is still at the stage of liking to put everything in their mouth, go with liquid soap.
- Decorate the area around the sink with their favorite book or television characters, to create a ambience of warmth and fun.
- Turn washing their hands into a fun game. In my case, I usually let my son, splash with the water for a few seconds, which he loves, before getting into the ritual of the hand washing itself.
- Pick a song they know and can sing that will help them wash their hands for the recommended length of time (15-20 seconds), or you sing the song. My son is not at the singing stage yet, so sometimes I do the singing (or concentrate on stopping him from licking his hands, or eating the soap). Here are a few songs you can try:
1.Row, Row, Row Your Boat
2.Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
3.The Itsy-Bitsy Spider
4.The ABC song
- Create a chart that they can mark off each time they wash their hands - this develops a mini challenge, another great life skill to be nurturing at the same time, being rising to challenges whilst learning.
- Hang up a poster near the hand washing area that shows the all the steps for washing their hands.
- Do an activity that gets their hands super messy, and then show them how long it actually takes to wash off their hands. Finger painting is a great option…
- Get a story book that explains germs and the importance of washing their hands. Although it is a difficult subject to explain there are some great books out there like “What are Germs?” by Katie Daynes
- Be a good example of handwashing. Wash your hands before making food, after caring for a sick person, after going to the bathroom, the usual times..
Have fun with those! In the meantime, we are going to have a contest soon to win a year’s supply of Clean Buddies hand sanitizing wipes worth $300! More details to follow very soon on our social media accounts
Judith, CEO Clean Buddies ™