Handwashing Week

Teaching HandwashingHandwashing -- Your Best Defense 

Handwashing is a year-round, every day practice that is key to preventing colds, flu and many other illnesses. 

Most recently, Columbus is seeing an outbreak of Shigella, a germ that causes diarrheal-illness can be serious.  Handwashing is the primary way to stop the spread of the Shigella germ, especially for young children who are just learning to go potty.

So how do you get children to wash their hands without a fight? Make it fun, until its a habit.   

Key Points

Teaching Kids to Wash

Sing It

Singing can help kids remember to wash their hands long enough – 15-20 seconds. This is the time it takes to sing:

  • "Happy Birthday" twice
  • "ABC's once
  • "Row Your Boat” twice
  • "Wash My Hands" twice (words below, same tune as Row Your Boat):

Wash My Hands Song 
Wash, wash, wash my hands,
Make them nice and clean.
Rub the bottoms and the tops,
And fingers in between.

Show Them

  • Let them see you wash your hands throughout the day and wash your hands with them.
  • Use glitter to represent germs on their hands. Show them how the glitter can get onto other things you touch. Have them wash off the glitter like they are washing off the germs.

Remind Them

Put a small poster in the bathroom at eye level that reminds them to wash. Make one with them or print one of ours.  

Reward Them

Every time they wash their hands, reward them. For example:

  • reward them with a sticker
  • place a star on a handwashing chart 
  • give them points toward a small prize by placing marbles in a jar until it is full.

More ideas for teaching handwashing to young children.