Easy ideas on how to get your child to wash their hands during flu season.
Every time I turn on the news it seems like they are talking about how bad the flu season will be this year. Get your flu shot and wash your hands are always top 2 on the professionals list of things to do in order to try and avoid this yucky illness.
Almost two years ago, I had a 2 week old baby and a 4 year old at home and my husband started feeling under the weather. Within just a few hours, he was miserable and diagnosed with the flu shortly after. You can read here about the methods that I took to prevent anyone else from getting it! And the following year my daughter got the flu and no one else got it! I’m hoping we get through this year with no one getting sick.
I will let you decide what to do on the flu vaccine, but I don’t think anyone will deny hand washing is a great defense not just against the flu but against tons of different viruses and harmful bacteria. So do you need to know how to get your child to wash their hands?
Here are some tips and tricks to encourage good hand hygiene in children.
Medical Disclaimer: Please note that I am not a doctor and this information should not be used as medical advice. If you have a question about your health or the health of your children, please contact a medical professional.
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How To Get Your Child To Wash Their Hands
Just like pretty much anything else that you want to teach your kids, rewards and positive reinforcement are a big part of getting them to do what you want.
Making the process fun will make the chore seem less burdensome for both you and the kids. Finding out how to get your child to wash their hands without constant nagging and reminding will make life better for everyone involved.
Make the Bathroom Accessible to Kids
Kids are little people living in an adult sized world. If they can’t reach the sink, they aren’t very likely to wash their hands. Or if you have to pick them up each time, it will be harder for them to gain the independence to clean their hands on their own.
There are a few things that you can do to make the bathroom easier to use for children when it comes to hand hygiene.
- Step Stool – Get them up to the sink at the proper height. You can find all kinds of stools – different colors, character inspired and even this cute dog step stool.
- Faucet Extender – This is another way to get the water to properly rinse those little hands. I like this animal shaped extender.
Other things to think about are if the child can reach the soap and hand towel as they are today. Lots of times, even with the stool, the soap container may be too far to reach. Which results in hands that may or may not get properly cleaned.
You may need to set the soap and a towel closer to the edge of the counter to allow the child to reach it when needed.
Fun Soap and Towel
If you are wondering how to get your child to wash their hands, fun soap won’t hurt!
There are so many great options to make this typically mundane task more fun. And who am I kidding, if I have my favorite seasonal soap in the house I am more likely to wash my hands too!
- Shaped Liquid Soap Dispenser with Music/Timer And Lights – This set helps to teach kids how long to wash by lighting up and singing for 20 seconds. How cool is that?
- Soap Pens – These are a unique way to encourage hand washing. Draw on your hands with the colored soap pens, scrub and rinse.
- Soap Soundz – Play a creepy Halloween song or a Christmas carol each time you pump.
- Kid Inspired Hand Towel – There are tons of character towels or these cute animal microfiber towels are cute too! They have a loop to hang which would be great if your child can’t reach the hand towel rack. Just hang this towel around the vanity knob.
If you are really struggling with getting your child to wash their hands, implementing a reward system could be just what you need.
This chart is cute and includes lots of other childhood responsibilities and chores to work on. There is not specifically a hand washing tab but it comes with two blanks that you can write in.
Insider Mom Tip: you don’t even have to have an actual reward at the end of the week. Just sticking on the sticker and getting some praise and a high five is fun. Or choose something that you can do for free at home – child gets to have a special dessert, extra book before bed, bubbles at bath time etc.
Talk To Kids About The Importance of Hand washing
It is natural to not want to do something if you don’t understand why you are doing it. Kids are no different. So if you want to know how to get your kids to wash their hands, talk to them about it.
Remind them about that time they were sick and had to miss a birthday party or how their belly hurt when they were ill. Get the conversation to their age level and help them understand why.
There are lots of books that can help with this subject, here are a few:
Be Prepared On The Go
Although some places (like our Children’s Museum) are awesome and have kid sized bathroom facilities, most don’t.
So be prepared with things to make keeping hands clean easy.
Of course washing with soap and water is best. But sometimes it is more practical to use other methods.
I’m always stocked with bottles of scented hand sanitizer and wipes.
For my 5 year old, I keep a mini sanitizer in one of the car seat cup holders and one is attached to her backpack zipper.
That way she has easy access to clean her hands when she needs it. Plus she loves the fun scents and her favorite kind are those with any kind of unicorn on the bottle.
With my 2 year old, he can’t be trusted with his own bottle. I’m sure he would disinfect my whole car or worse try to eat it.
But with some help from mama, he can certainly use some “magic soap” to get his little hands clean.
I hope these give you some ideas on how to get your child to wash their hands and stay healthier during this cold and flu season.