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How Did I Do It? > Parenting & Kids > Teach Kids Good Handwashing
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Teaching kids to wash their hands will help keep them healthy and happy.
Teaching kids to wash their hands will help keep them healthy and happy.

With reports recently of an increase in staph infections that are resistant to antibiotic treatments, its important that we teach out kids to take good care of their health by teaching them good hygiene and good handwashing techniques.

Handwashing is one of the best ways to defend against infections, both major and minor and to protect themselves from spreading the common things that pass through schools like wildfire.

Here are a few tips to help your kids learn good handwashing and keep them as healthy as possible this school year:

  • Be a good role model. Kids learn from what they see. Wash your own hands at the times when you would expect them to, such as when you wake up, before dinner and after handling a pet etc.
  • Make it a fun thing to do. Buy a few scented soaps, some foamy kids soap and see that its fun and interesting to do, so that its not a chore but a neat thing to do. One very good one which teaches good techniques is Squid soap, that dyes their hands and doesn’t come off until they’ve washed for twenty seconds.
  • Try making it fun for your kids to learn the importance of good hand washing technique.
    Try making it fun for your kids to learn the importance of good hand washing technique.

  • Don’t just tell them to wash their hands, tell them why. Kids don’t like to be ill any more than we do. If they understand the need to not just wash but wash well, they usually will. Tell them there are bugs they can’t see that will make them ill and help them to understand how to remove those invisible bugs.
  • Teach them in ways they understand how long to wash their hands. A good rule of thumb is to scrub their fingers the same amount of time it takes to sing the ABC’s, so maybe having them to do that while washing, even in their head is a good way to bring them to washing for long enough.
  • Antibacterial soaps are usually not necessary for children. Appropriate time spans in washing will be enough.
  • Don’t use very hot water, and teach your kids that. Really hot water can cause chapped hands, which will make it painful and something they don’t want to do, and also increase their risk for infection.
  • Keep their nails clean and short.

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