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April 7, 2014

Help Teach Children to Minimize the Germ Farm

handwashing picIt can sometimes be a challenge for a young child to stop playing long enough to use the bathroom, let alone getting them to hold off on playing even longer to wash their hands. Though, the idea of good hygiene and germs can be comprehended by even toddlers.

Our Doodle Bugs! faculty not only follows licensing regulations on handwashing, but also teaches children that good handwashing equals good health. Teachers help teach children daily to wash their hands when entering a classroom, after using the bathroom, before eating, and whenever soiled (think wiping your nose or covering a sneeze/cough).

Setting the same expectations and example at home helps reinforce the handwashing routine and makes it a lifelong habit. It’s the first step in helping young children learn. Here are some other family tips for building healthy habits at home:

Make it Easy. While the child-sized sinks you’ll find in our classrooms aren’t necessarily a reality at home, you can still make it easy byhaving a stool available, a towel close by, and soap with an easy-to-operate pump.

Make it Fun. Keep a toy, like a rubber duckie, at the sink so they have a “friend” to wash too. Let them pick out their own soap; one with a fun smell or favorite character on the bottle. Make up a silly song to sing only when washing hands (make sure it lasts at least 20 seconds; the proper handwashing time).

Use Outside Resources. Parents aren’t perfect and sometimes need help or reinforcements. Softsoap has created several fun videos to not only educate children on proper handwashing, but also makes it entertaining and fun. One video is geared for the slightly younger age group, while the other adds a bit of rock and roll to the message.

Talk About It. Explain that washing hands helps keep them from getting sick or not feeling well. Remind them how it’s okay to have fun and get dirty, but afterwards you must always wash your hands. Remember, you don’t want them to be scared by germs or dirt but aware of good health habits.