While washing our hands has always been known to prevent the spread of germs, it’s been highlighted more than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the first reccommendations for preventing spread of the virus was to wash your hands with soap and water for a full 30 seconds. We have been told again and again that this is the best way to kill the virus if it’s on our hands. Handwashing is even more effective than hand sanitizer.
So when it comes to getting our kids to wash their hands, it’s pretty important that they do it well and they do it regularly. But the key here is also that they are doing it for long enough. Even though it sounds pretty quick, 30 full seconds is a long time. Especially for a child. But there are ways to make that time go by faster by making handwashing fun.
Make It a Positive Experience
It can be hard to be patient and upbeat when you’re a parent and you’re feeling pulled in a million different directions. Getting your kids to wash their hands well and for long enough can feel like a chore and, if you’re not in the best mood, you might not approach it in a positive way. You may even get snappy with your kids if they aren’t doing it the way you think they should.
But making handwashing a negative experience is only going to make it harder for you in the long run. Take a deep breath and try to make it positive and fun for your children.
Sing the ABCs
This works especially well for younger children who love singing the ABCs. As long as you don’t sing it quickly and just stick to normal speed, the ABCs can easily last about 30 seconds which is enough time for your children to scrub their hands clean.
You can even shake things up a bit by singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, The Wheels on the Bus, or Baa, Baa Blacksheep. Shake it up!
If you have a child who is learning to count, this is the perfect opportunity to teach them to count until 30. Even if they know how to count to 30, for kids who just learned how to count it can be exciting to count that high. Why not make handwashing a fun learning experience and a way to practice counting?
Come Up with Your Own Handwashing Song
You can definitely find some handwashing songs online just by searching, but what if you and your child brainstormed a handwashing song together. The tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” can easily be change to “Wash, Wash, Wash your hands” and then you can come up with the rest of the lyrics together. This will make handwashing a fun and personal experience.
Getting our kids to wash their hands, in general, can be difficult. Add in the fact that we need to have them wash for a longer period of time than they normally would and the challenge gets harder. But through a positive attitude and making it fun, you can easily show your child that washing hands for 30 seconds is no big deal.