There are two types of children – those who love to wash their hands, leaving the water run for 5 minutes using all the soap and making suds, and then those that hate it, they think their hands are washed when they run them under the tap for 1 second, wipe their hands on their clothes and run out to play. So despite which type of child you have when it comes to hand washing, you will no doubt face some issues.
We all know hand-washing and drying your hands thoroughly is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of infection and germs not just for children but for adults too. You will want to make sure your children’s hands are clean when you know that there are between two and 10 million bacteria that lurk between the fingertips and elbow, the number of germs on the fingertips double after using the toilet and germs can stay alive on the hands for up to three hours and wet hands are 1000 times more likely to spread germs than dry hands.
Children are ready to learn about hand washing when they are still very young. When we teach our children good hand washing early in life it is more likely to become a habit they’ll practice for the rest of their lives.
Most children develop the ability to wash their hands independently by about three years of age although they will probably still need some help. Before age 3 you will definitely need to help them wash their hands and for babies and young toddlers, you will need to do it for them.
Top tips for getting your children to wash their hands
1. Teach children why hand washing is important
Children are more likely to wash their hands if they know why they are washing them.
We know hand washing is important because it removes germs that can cause diseases from the hands and in doing so helps prevent the spread of those diseases. However, children learn by using their senses (by touching, seeing, tasting, smelling and hearing) so for children to understand that they need to wash the germs off their hands when they cannot see them can be difficult for them to comprehend. Even though we talk about germs we need to remember it does not need to be a scary story…make it fun and interesting.
At the nursery we visit all the classrooms and teach the children to be germ fighters with our fun glitter germs. You could try this at home; the children put glitter on their hands (glitter germs) they then shake hands, high five their friends and by touching things the children can see how easily the germs are spread. The children then go and wash their hands to remove the germs. It can be messy but it is so much fun!
2. Lead by example and make it a routine
Children love to copy Mum, Dad, older siblings and teachers so they will learn from us. Therefore we need to make sure that we always wash our hands with soap and water before eating or handling food, after using the bathroom and after blowing your nose. Remember children are always watching and learning and one day your child will even surprise you and remind you that you have forgotten to wash your hands, or you have not used soap!
3. Make it fun and friendly, happy wash day!
Make sure the hand washing area is safe and easily accessible for your child; provide a child safe stool or low basin. In the nursery all our basins are low with non-slip mats and a mirror the children love to see themselves.!!
Get them their favourite soap or have fun soaps and scrubbers so they want to wash their hands, this works especially for the younger ones until hand washing is an everyday habit for them. Try a colour changing soap, this changes colour after 15-20 seconds showing when your hands are ready for rinsing and drying.
Sing a fun song to let your child know how long they should wash their hands for (15 to 20 seconds) have them sing Happy Birthday/ Happy Wash Day — twice — while they wash.
As we know all children love sticker charts so maybe have a chart that they tick or stamp every time they wash their hands correctly.
Let’s not forget the Safety Considerations when letting your children wash their hands…put locks on doors in your bathroom/kitchen that contain medicines or cleaning products or anything else that could harm your child and check the water temperature. Also make sure you talk about the dangers of hot water to your children.
We will always have extremely fond and treasured memories of our girls time at Children’s Oasis. The teachers are so creative and fun, always thinking of new ways to engage the children and the thoughtful and varied outdoor areas were always a favourite of theirs. We loved the intimate, friendly feel and all the little extras which makes it feel that you are part of a community. Thanks for everything, we really couldn’t have asked for a better start and we will miss you all.
What I love about Children's Oasis is how well looked after my children are and how comfortable they feel. They know the names of most of the staff and will always say 'hi' and often stop for a chat. It's a calm and nurturing environment.
We love children’s Oasis Nursery. It has been a part of our lives for over 8 years with both our girls going there. The staff are all amazing and really care for the children.
Que alegría haberlos encontrado! Estamos muy agradecidos de comenzar los años escoltarse de nuestra hija con su apoyo! Desde las maestras, hasta la directora y el ambiente de la escuela tuvimos una experiencia fenomenal y estamos entusiasmados de volver en Septiembre! Muchas gracias Children's Oasis!!!
Both my boys were at Children Oasis from the time they were 2 and until they were 4 years old; first attending the Spanish Programme and then, FS1. Both classes were great! The teachers are incredibly professional and caring. The communication with the parents is excellent and reports are detailed. They make learning fun and engaging for the kids who learn through hands-on activities and play. The facilities are beautiful with lots of stimulating and educational books and toys. I couldn't ask for more during those early years for my children!
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