If you are planning to send your child off to daycare, it is important that they feel confident washing their hands after playing with paints or when they have been to the bathroom. When young children mix, it creates the ideal conditions for diseases to spread. Below is a guide to things you can do to encourage your child to wash their hands.
Invest in the correct equipment
You will not be able to teach your child how to wash their hands if they do not learn how to use hand washing equipment. Invest in liquid soap, a soft nail brush and paper towels. If you are having problems to get your child to pick up and use hand washing equipment, you should consider investing in specially branded child-friendly products which feature designs from popular cartoons. You may also wish to drop lego blocks below the surface of the water to tempt even the most reluctant child to dip their hands under the warm soapy water.
Make hand washing into a game
If you make washing your hands into a chore, there is no way a small child will want to do it. Instead, you should turn it into a game. You should make up a fun song or play music in the background while they are hand washing. The main benefit provided by using a song is that you can ensure that your child spends a few minutes washing their hands rather than just giving their fingertips a quick rinse under the cold tap. You should demonstrate how to apply liquid soap and to ensure that every inch of their hands is properly cleaned before rinsing the area with cold water.
Maintain a routine
By building up a regular hand washing routine, you can increase the chance that your child will remember to perform this task after using the toilet, coming in from playing outside, or preparing to eat. Reinforce the routine by saying very clearly that you are now going to wash your hands together. As you guide your child to the sink, you should ask your child why you need to wash your hands. Try to get your child to link the activity they have just completed the act of washing their hands.
If you would like further advice, you should speak with the staff at your childcare centre. The staff will be happy to work with you to develop your child's confidence when washing their hands at an early learning centre.