This time of year stomach bugs and colds spread easily, especially with little ones sharing germs. Washing your hands is one of the best methods to help prevent the spreading of germs, keeping kids – and the entire family – healthy. Missing fun activities because your or your little ones are sick is no fun.
Parents and teachers play an important role in teaching children to wash their hands because instilling this early can lead to a lifelong healthy habit. There are 5 easy steps for handwashing: wet, lather, scrub, rinse, and dry – and teaching your children the key times to wash hands will help them to be healthy and happy. You can always find ways to make it fun: make up a handwashing song, or turn handwashing into is game of some sort!
Remind your children frequently
Handwashing is not a skill that is built quickly – your child will need regular reminders at first of when and how to wash their hands correctly. It is especially important to remind children to wash their hands after using the bathroom, after touching pets, playing outside, before eating, and after couching, sneezing, or blowing their nose. Making this a regular part of their day will help them to practice this healthy habit throughout their lives.
Young children often mimic things that their parents and caretakers do, and washing hands is no different. If you make handwashing a part of your everyday routine, you set a great example for your children to follow!
Alternatives if soap and water are not available
Sometimes you just aren’t near a sink or soap, but you still find yourself in a situation where you need to wash your hands. If soap and water are not available, the CDC recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol, and to wash your hands with soap and water as soon as you can.
One thing to note: baby wipes are not an alternative to washing with soap and water. Your hands may look nice and clean, but they are not designed to remove germs from your hands. It is recommended to wash your hands with soap and water as soon as possible after using a baby wipe to fully eliminate any germs.
Remember to make handwashing a healthy habit at home, school, and at playtime!