Hand Washing Tips for Kids
You probably know that the CDC recommends washing hands for a minimum of 20 seconds to eliminate a majority of the germs on our hands. But how do you get kids to scrub that long? At our house we use hand washing songs for toddlers and preschoolers – and as a refresher when my older children need a reminder to scrub a bit longer. Even if they need help with the song, singing is typically more entertaining than counting to 20, especially for little ones who aren’t yet counting that high yet.
“Wet hands! Water off! Soap on! Sing!” We start with this quick sing-song chant as we jump into the routine.
- Wet hands
- Turn water off
- Soap on
- Scrub and sing
- Rinse and sing
- Shake off excess water
- Dry hands
We sing “The Alphabet Song” while scrubbing, but you could use any song that lasts about 20 seconds. Once the song is over, then it’s time to rinse. Since kids are apt to rush through this part and leave lots of soap residue (which means clinging germs), we rinse for one more song length, but use a shorter song this time, putting our own words to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”
Wash, wash, wash your hands,
Wash the germs away.
Wash and rub and rinse and scrub,
Germs go down the drain.
Another fun idea is to keep a couple of small toys in, or near, the sink. As you can see, we have a small zoo in our sink some days. Tell your little ones that they need to get the germs off their hands and wash the toy(s) as well. They’ll usually have so much fun that they’ll far exceed the 20 second minimum. This one doesn’t work as well when you’re out running errands, but it’s a fun way to get clean at home.
A few more tips and tricks for keeping hands clean:
- Wash your hands as soon as you get home from running errands, attending church, sports, etc.
- Try the bread experiment or glitter experiment for a visual lesson on germs and bacteria. (Don’t like glitter? Try Glo Germ or chalk.)
- Use a foaming soap pump to help make the soap last longer.
- Wrap a rubber band around the bottom of the soap dispenser pump to help prevent kids from squirting out half a bottle at a time.
- If you’re in a classroom setting, stamping kids’ hands at the beginning of the day can help them tell if they’re washing frequently enough.
Do you have any tips to help teach kids hand washing skills?
Leave your great ideas below!