Germs. As a mother of two, I see them everywhere. I knew they existed before having children but somehow I didn’t feel as vulnerable. With kids, the chances of hand-to-mouth contact occur at least a million times a day. While we can’t keep them in a bubble, we can teach them at least one very basic, yet important, skill: proper hand washing. Explaining why they need to wash, when and how, is your first defense against many common colds. Expect to repeat the mantra again and again, especially with little ones. Be patient, though, and your efforts will be rewarded with an auto-pilot stealth as they come home from school and head straight to the bathroom for a soap break. I speak from experience!
A Few Tips to Get Started
- Make it a sing along To really get clean, kids and adults should rub hands together to get a good soapy lather at least 15 to 20 seconds—that’s as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday.”
- Pump it Up Bars are a slippery slope, so get a refillable pump and make sure it’s easy enough for kids to dispense themselves.
- Rule of Thumb While pediatricians aren’t as uptight about thumb-sucking anymore, remember everything your baby touches gets ingested. Better to break this habit in the early stages.
- You Are What You Eat Teach kids to wash their hands before meals. You can buy all the organic you want, but if they’re sitting down with dirty hands, then it’s money out the window. Pack all-natural, alcohol-free wipes or hand sanitizer in school-aged kids lunch boxes so they clean up before digging in too.
- Stay on Top of Things Don’t forget there are two sides to every story, so make sure they know to wash both their palms and top of hands too.