When conducting such exposure therapy sessions in a home setting, you might want to utilize a small reward to encourage a child's participation. Initially it can be some small treat afterwards if they cooperate, and then in subsequent sessions reward them for outperforming their prior marks in terms of what they touch or how long they can stay calm afterwards without washing their hands.
D) Additional activities to help kids conquer their fear of germs
Here are a couple of other activities that can reduce a child's fear of germs:
1. Out of a child's sight, fill two water bottles with tap water, labeling one "clean" and the other "dirty" or "contaminated." Then present them to a child and have them drink from each. People are naturally reluctant to drink from the one labeled dirty, even though the water may look exactly the same. After they take a sip of each (often after great protest), let them in on the ruse. Then talk about how a lot of their fear over germs is mental like this, based on an idea in their head rather than an actual threat.
2. A similar lesson can be taught playing blindfold games. Cover a child's eyes so that they can't see a thing, then sit them down at a table, arms placed out in front of them. One by one, place an object in their hand to explore. Rotate between "friendly" things (their stuffed animal, a piece of their clothing, toys, and so on) and anxiety-provoking ones. Give them 1 minute to explore each item and try to guess what it is, then uncover their eyes. They'll recoil at the fact of having touched an item that they view as germy, but they'll also start to become suspicious of the friendly ones until their eyes are uncovered. Once again, the idea is to help them see their fears as more mental than physical.
E) Promote a healthy fear of germs
Try to redirect this anxiety towards hypervigilance in appropriate ways; taking precautionary steps when someone is sick, for example. Or talking about dangerous bacteria in regards to food safety. This allows you to focus their fears toward what really matters while reducing the disruption germ anxiety causes in daily life.