Teaching Kids Handwashing
Handwashing is an easy, cheap, and effective way to prevent the spread of germs and keep kids and adults healthy. Help your child develop handwashing skills! Parents and caretakers play an important role in teaching children to wash their hands. Handwashing can become a lifelong healthy habit if you start teaching it at an early age. Teach kids the five easy steps for handwashing—wet, lather, scrub, rinse and dry—and the key times to wash hands, such as after using the bathroom or before eating. You can find ways to make it fun, like making up your own handwashing song or turning it into a game.
Follow Five Steps to Wash Your Hands the Right Way
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Building handwashing skills takes time. At first, your child will need regular reminders of how and when to wash hands. It is especially important to remind children to wash their hands after using the bathroom, before eating, after touching pets, after playing outside, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing their nose. But once handwashing becomes a habit and a regular part of your child’s day, they will practice it throughout their lives.
What if soap and water aren’t available?
Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol, and wash your hands with soap and water as soon as you can.
Baby wipes may make your hands look clean, but they’re not designed to remove germs from your hands. CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water when possible.
Remember to make handwashing a healthy habit at home, school, and at play! For more information check out the CDC’s website.