There are so many things that we need to teach our children that require some skill. You need to spend time teaching your child how to tie their shoes, how to write their letters, and how to color in the lines. But there are also many things that we should teach our children that parents tend to overlook either because it really is just second nature to us or because we don’t do those things as often as we should.
For some parents, brushing teeth isn’t a big priority so they let the responsibility of teaching their children proper technique just kind of slide. For others it is the habit of making their bed in the morning or eating a well-balanced meal. Another big area that parents tend to be lax about is teaching their children how to properly wash their hands on a regular basis, especially after using the restroom.
Most people know that germs (bacteria) are everywhere. They are on everything we touch and they are all over us. Most of the germs that are on are bodies are germs that our bodies have become used to and so they don’t generally make us sick. There are, however, germs inside our bodies that are more dangerous. In addition, the germs that exist rather harmlessly on other peoples’ bodies could be quite harmful to us. The easiest way to prevent the spread of many harmful kinds of germs is to regularly wash your hands. In addition, most of us adults don’t run around picking up anything that we don’t recognize to show to others, but children often do. Even if you, as a parent, aren’t regularly washing your hands, please teach your children to do so. You are not only helping them but their peers and fellow human beings.
There are a few things that can make hand-washing more quickly become habit with your children. First, when it is time for your children to wash their hands (i.e. after using the restroom or being outside playing) wash your hands together. They like to see their parents participate. Make sure you are washing your hands in warm water. If you wash your hands too you can check the temperature so it won’t burn the child.
Second, lather up with soap for about 10 seconds. Soap doesn’t have to be anti-bacterial but it can be found it fun colors, fun shapes, and fun scents. There are even soaps that have colored suds. Sing a tune with your child as you are washing your hands and they will forget they are doing something good for themselves. Be sure to get between fingers and under fingernails as best you can. You aren’t going into surgery so you don’t have to scrub to the elbow (unless they are just that dirty) but it helps to include the child’s wrists as well, especially if they have had to reach to wipe.
Finally, rinse off your hands and then dry off. There are a lot of views on what you should use to dry your hands. Some people use paper towels that can be thrown away. Many public restrooms have blow dryers for their patrons. Most, though, use towels in their personal bathroom. As long as you regularly change out a towel so that it doesn’t sit wet for too long and as long as you know that the towel is only used for drying CLEAN hands, it is a perfectly fine option. If you use towels, find some fun designs that continue to make the experience of teaching your children to wash their hands fun. You might even want to hide something fun underneath the towel as a reward for a job well done. If you do it at random occasions, they will always want to wash their hands to see if today is the day for a treat.