With many kids back in school, it is important for them to take steps to protect themselves and others against the spread of Coronavirus. This means ensuring kids wash their hands on a regular basis. Of course, kids do not always do what they’re told, so both parents and teachers should keep a few tips in mind when it comes to teaching kids about good hand hygiene.
1. Set a Good Example
First, it is important to always set a good example. Kids are afraid that they are being treated differently from everyone else. Therefore, it is important for them to see that everyone else is participating in hand washing as well. Try to take kids into the bathroom and show them that everyone else is washing their hands as well, including adults. Set a good example by regularly washing your own hands. Then, kids will be more likely to follow.
2. Kids Are Visual Learners
In order for kids to wash their hands properly, they need to know why. Remember that kids are visual learners. They are more likely to pay attention to what is going on if they see pictures or videos showing them exactly what is happening. Therefore, talk about germs that are on our hands. Use graphics, pictures, and videos to show kids what happens when they wash their hands and what happens when they don’t. Then, they will be more likely to do so.
3. Be Specific
Kids need to be able to follow directions. Therefore, be specific with exactly when kids are supposed to wash their hands. Encourage children to wash their hands:
- Before they eat
- After they use the toilet
- After handling pets
- After sneezing or blowing their nose
- When they come in from playing outside
By being specific regarding when they are supposed to wash their hands, kids are more likely to comply.
4. Make Handwashing Fun
If kids enjoy hand washing, they are more likely to make it a regular habit. Therefore, try to make this activity fun. Think about placing a fun bar of soap or foaming gel in the bathroom. Invest in soaps that smell good. Put items in the bathroom that look like cartoon characters. This will make it more likely for kids to want to wash their hands.
5. Start a Reward System
Reward kids who are washing their hands. Place a chart in the classroom or in the child’s room, have them check off each time they wash their hands appropriately and provide periodic rewards. If kids feel like this is a game, they are more likely to participate in your hand hygiene program.