Teaching Children Proper Hand-Washing Techniques
Of all the gimmicks to treat and avoid illness that parents may utilize, the time proven and most effective way to prevent the spread of illness remains properly washing our hands. So although you can't prevent every illness, teaching your children how to properly wash their hands can prevent them from getting sick as often.
What are the proper hand washing steps?
1. Always use soap. Even hot water alone doesn't get rid of many bacteria and viruses. Soap generally doesn't kill the bugs, but it loosens their grip so that they wash off easily.
2. Wet your hands, apply soap, and then scrub for at least 15 to 20 seconds over the entire surface of your hands, including between the fingers.
3. Dry quickly and completely. Drying is just as important in the whole process as washing. Not only do germs more readily attach to wet surfaces, but moisture and warmth promotes germ growth, so not properly drying afterwards could erase the benefits of washing. Researchers at the University of Bradford in England found that people who dry their hands more thoroughly have up to a third less bacteria on their palms and fingertips than those who leave them damp.
4. Turn off the faucet with the paper towel, since it is often the dirtiest thing in the restroom.
Teaching children how to properly wash their hands in 3 easy steps
Give children the following instructions for washing their hands:
1. Turn on the water to wet your hands, and then turn the faucet off to conserve water and apply soap.
2. Scrub your hands for the time it takes you to sing your ABC's. Or you can have them sing another favorite song of comparable length if it gets them to scrub longer.
3. Turn the water back on and rinse your hands. Get a paper towel and dry them good, then turn off the faucet using the paper towel.
*print a proper hand washing coloring page for your kids.
When to have children wash their hands
Parents should also keep in mind that not all dirt or germs are bad. In fact, studies have shown that exposure to things like dirt or farm animals when kids are young helps prime a child's immune system so that they have less problems with illness later in life. There are many helpful types of pathogens, and scientists are learning that too much hygiene can actually promote susceptibility to illness because it reduces the everyday exposures that our immune system needs to grow strong.
So you should focus on hand washing in school settings, during food preparation, or before and after meals, and also put an emphasis on it during cold and flu season. But it's not necessary to get all