When your child comes into the kitchen while you are making dinner, literally armed with an assortment of bugs, snails and worms up and down her hands and arms, the last thing she is thinking about is washing her hands. That is where children differ from adults, because that is probably your first thought. Try to remain calm as you instruct her to put the creatures back outside and then to wash her hands.
Kids get into all kinds of dirty, grimy material. They need to learn that when they do, they need to wash their hands because millions of germs could be on their treasures. It is especially important for kids to wash their hands before they eat. Washing their hands is the best way to prevent germs from spreading and from keeping your kids from getting sick, according to the Kids Health website.
Kids need to be vigilant about washing their hands often throughout the day because they are prone to touch their eyes, nose or mouth, which is how children become infected. Once your child becomes sick, it is not long before the whole family becomes sick, too. Kids can prevent colds, the flu and infectious diarrhea from good hand washing, according to the Kids Health website. If your child spends time at child-care or at school, talk with the teacher about hand washing. Children in groups outside the home are at greater risk for diseases, according to MayoClinic.com.
How to Wash
Just running your hands under cold water is not enough. The correct way to wash hands to eliminate germs is to use warm water. Use soap and lather it in your hands for at least 20 seconds, recommends the American Red Cross. To get your kids to wash long enough, you may suggest that they sing the “Happy Birthday” song two times or “Row Row Row Your Boat” two times, and wash until the song is over. Children should wash between the fingers and under the nails as well. Include the wrists in your hand-washing routine. Rinse and dry thoroughly with a towel.
When to Wash
Times when you and your children should always wash your hands are before eating or cooking, after using the bathroom, after cleaning in the house or yard, after playing with your pets, before and after you have been around a sick person, after you blow your nose or if you sneeze or cough into your hands.
Sometimes your kids will be in situations where they need to wash their hands, but they don’t have access to water. Using an anti-bacterial hand sanitizer that doesn’t require water is effective in killing germs, too, according to MayoClinic.com. Choose one that is at least 60 percent alcohol. Apply enough of the product so that your hands are completely wet. Rub your hands together for about 25 seconds or until they are dry.
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