Heading into cold and flu season has everyone thinking about ways to avoid getting sick. When it comes to illness prevention, the importance of handwashing for people of all ages can’t be dismissed.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), illnesses can be reduced by about 20 percent by following good handwashing habits. To reinforce this healthy habit with your little one, use some of the tips below to make handwashing fun.
First, it is important for kids to learn how to wash their hands correctly.
Learning how to wash your hands the right way is a key step in preventing the spread of germs. Explain to your child that when you wash your hands correctly, you are getting rid of the most germs possible.
The basics of handwashing include using soap and water while washing your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. For more details to go over with your child, check out our guide to correct handwashing.
Handwashing tips for toddlers
Parents and caregivers need to help toddlers wash their hands, but this age isn’t too early to begin instilling this healthy habit.
Start building this practice by helping toddlers wash their hands at regular times. For example, help them wash their hands after using the bathroom, before and after meals as well as after they’re exposed to germs at the playground. Getting them used to the things they should associate with handwashing will help make this a habit.
You can make handwashing a fun task for toddlers by having a song of the week for handwashing. This can be a familiar song, or even a song you make up. Also, if a toddler is resistant, offer to allow them to wash the hands of a toy or your own hands to help them learn the process.
Handwashing tips for preschoolers
Preschoolers can learn to wash their hands independently. Supervision should be offered by an adult to make sure they are being thorough. However, allowing them to do this themselves helps to foster their independence.
At this age, you can start using a timer to make sure they begin to recognize how long they should be washing. Offering different kinds of soap, like fun-shaped soap bars or soap bottles for different holidays, can make this healthy habit more exciting. Encourage your preschooler to figure out their favorite scented soap.
And if you have a little more time on your hands (no pun intended) make bars of soap as a family craft project. Using their very own soap will make the handwashing process more fun for your preschooler.
Learn about the pediatric services we offer at Bon Secours.
Also, did you know children ages six months and older are eligible to get a flu shot? Hear from one of our pediatricians about why this is the best way you can protect your family this flu season.