Why is hand washing so important? Tell your little learners that washing their hands will help keep them from getting sick. Learning about germs and how they can be spread to others is a serious topic. So together let’s find out what are some fun ways to teach handwashing to children and maintain a safer and healthier life at school.
Washing hands may be old school but it’s a great measure to keep young and old alike safe from disease. It also helps prevent the spread of respiratory and diarrheal infections. Children must see that with unwashed hands, germs can spread from person to person when they:
- Touch their faces, eyes, nose, and mouth
- Touch the food they eat and their drinks
- Touch objects or surfaces that have germs on them
- Sneeze, cough, and blow their nose; and then touch other people’s hands or common objects
Washing hands is a foundational hygiene skill. If you want your students to learn hygiene and become independent with it, make sure to give handwashing some time and attention.
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Problems You May Encounter with Kids About Handwashing
There are children who always forget to wash their hands and may require a constant reminder, again and again, and again. Some kids with impulsive behavior would want to play with water and soap now and then. This can affect the skin due to frequent handwashing over a long period of time, resulting in skin dryness and other conditions.
Children may have difficulties and struggle to follow this simple handwashing activity in a variety of ways. Some children may even hate the feeling of water on their hands, the long rubbing with soap, or carrying out the steps.
First, Here are Some Tips for Teachers
Fondly talk to your class about how handwashing makes the easiest they can do to protect themselves from any disease. It’s understandable that they may have to get their hands wet many times during the day. However, germs may be lurking in fingernails and one of the best ways to get rid of them is by washing their hands.
Remain calm and lead the handwashing practice with jolliness. Reacting with anger can turn the scenario from a straightforward reminder into a more significant behavioral issue.
Keep reminding the class about why everybody has to wash their hands and let that story elaborate that soap and water can shield everyone from germs that other people might have. Kids would love to hear about going home to their families, baby brothers, and sisters free from any type of germs.
How to Help kids practice handwashing naturally
#1 Model It
It’s almost constant that when children see their parents, siblings, teachers, or someone they look up to washing their hands often, they will likely want to imitate doing the same. Plus, educating them that it’s a rule for everyone’s protection, they would gladly cooperate.
Stubbornness and resistance are to be expected, though, but with a jolly teacher doing it often, you’ll be able to create subtle authority instead of engaging in a force-force situation. Show them all the fun ways to wash their hands to somehow create excitement.
#2 Hang Pictures or play video
Print a variety of cartoon handwashing pictures and display different images every day. Play a video about handwashing that they can watch while doing it. Kids will have fun looking at the photograph or watching the video. Different pictures and videos are so much fun for them.
#3 Speak creatively in a kids’ language
Even experts say that encouraging in a very encouraging, friendly, and specific way makes it easy for young learners to understand a point. Giving real-life examples like “Washing your hands is required because just like taking a bath before going to school, it makes a part of school life.”
#4 Practice with a lot of play
Children learn through play and they practice their emotions when they are having fun. For example, assign different groups every day to help, remind, and guide the class when it’s time to wash hands.
#5 Use Fun Scents Every day
Allow children to experiment with different handwashing soap scents. Other than this sounding refreshing, the soothing fragrance has a calming effect on their senses. In fact, it can relieve anxiety, too. Of course, it’s also fun if you can keep different scents for different times of the day. They’ll be looking forward, promise.
#6 Give them the freedom to bring their own hand soap.
Children have no choice but to follow the rule. Why not let them bring their favorite hand soap? This way, they exercise their passion while being creative. Encourage parents to consider supporting the wellness activity by providing hand soap.
#7 Use the Power of Glitters
Mix glitter and hand soap. Just the thoughts of glitters that spark as they rub while washing is totally entertaining. Who would be lazy to miss this amusing break time?
#8 Choose the best times for the class handwashing together
This is related to snacking where the entire class needs to feed themselves. Initiate washing of hands after science experiments or other group activities. Your class will automatically instill that practice into their system.
Here’s what CDC has to say about proper handwashing. Watch the video.
To Sum It Up
Typically, kids follow what adults do. If at the beginning they understand the significance of handwashing then it wouldn’t be hard for them to get used to the system. Let them adhere to your school’s rules and regulations about health and safety.
Consistency is the key to developing good habits. As children become more skilled at this hygiene skill, the practice becomes easier and more comfortable. Nobody enjoys getting sick or making someone else sick. Stacking up children’s defenses remains the best method.
What about you? How do you go about handwashing in your classroom? Share your ideas in the comment.