Tips for teaching your kids to wash their hands

We hear it on the news almost every day. Remember to wash your hands, or hand washing can prevent the spread of disease.  But is it really that important?  The Center for Disease Control has a long list of the science behind the importance of hand washing.  It really can be a simple procedure; yet not everyone knows how to effectively wash their hands.  Below are some tips for teaching your children.

image1. Wet—get your hands wet with clean, running water. Using a basin filled with water can contaminate your hands even further, so turn on the faucet.  It doesn’t matter if the water is warm or cold, either is effective against germs but warm water is more comfortable and may make it easier to wash hands for the required time.

2. Lather—teach your children to rub their hands together with the soap. Lathering the backs of hands and in between your fingers is important.  Don’t forget to lather the nails—on children this area is often neglected. Teach them to sing Happy Birthday twice while they scrub to be sure they lather long enough.

3. Rinse—use plenty of water, remember warm is often more comfortable for children.

4. Dry-use either a clean towel or airs dry your hands.

It is also a good idea to review with your children when it is necessary to wash their hands. Below is a list from the Center for Disease Control listing appropriate times to wash hands.

  1. Before, during, and after preparing food
  2. Before eating
  3. Before and after caring for sick people
  4. Before and after treating wounds
  5. After using the toilet or changing diapers
  6. after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  7. after touching pets or handling their food
  8. After touching garbage

These tips may help cut down on sickness in your home this winter.

Liz Meimann

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

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