How to Teach your Child Hand Washing

One of the first things you should do when training your child to be a happy, healthy individual is to teach them proper hand washing skills from the very beginning.
Even when your baby is too young to wash his or her own hands, you can talk them through it while you hold their little hands under the faucet and wash their hands for them. The words you say will sink and become part of your child’s regular routine.

Be an Example
You are a model for what your child will see as typical behavior. Model good hand washing habits. Wash your own hands after you use the bathroom and when you come inside the house. Wash before preparing food, after playing with your pet, after sneezing or blowing their nose, and even after putting away groceries. You can take this time to wash your child’s hands, too.

Talk About Hand Washing
You probably already narrate your daily routine for your child. Make sure you also point out when you wash your own hands or when you see someone like a doctor or restaurant worker washing up.

Encourage Independence
I put a little step stool near the kitchen sink so my child could wash his hands any time he liked. Yes, he often made a mess with the soap and the water, in fact he still does! Nonetheless, I focused on him self reliance and praised him when he went to the sink to wash in his own. I can work on tidy hand washing later.

Teach Good Technique
Liquid *soap and warm water are the best tools to use in hand washing. A bar of soap works too, but is not as hygienic. Show your child how to wash both the front and the back of their hands, up to at least their wrists, and to even lace their fingers together and rub back and forth to clean in between the fingers.

Hand washing should last at least 15 seconds. A good way to help youngsters wash long enough is to have them recite their ABC’s while washing their hands. When they are done with the alphabet, they have washed long enough and are ready to rinse.

Lots of Praise
Always remember to give your child lots of positive reinforcement. Make hand washing rewarding and fun and your job of instilling the habit will be that much easier.

* Anti-bacterial soaps are popular, but what is actually more important is that you know how to properly rub your hands together to remove the germs. Any soap will accomplish the task as long as your technique is good.

By Parenting Tips