Getting through winter. That’s what we do in New England! Whether it’s preparing for snowstorms or avoiding the seasonal flu (or coronavirus, as this year may be!), we “get through!” Although hand washing takes center stage this time of year because of the close quarters and easy spread of bacteria, really, hand washing routines should be taught and reinforced all year long! I’ve created a handy (get it!?) handwashing routines printable chart to help kids remember when they should be washing their hands. (Because “a lot” doesn’t always make sense to our littles!).
This post was originally published in June 2015. Still relevant! 🙂
The Sound of Hand Washing
Are your kids rinse-and-shakers? Mmm-hmmm, I have those too! Certain sounds alert me to which of my boys is doing what. Does that ever happen to you? For instance, one son turns BOTH bathroom faucet spigots on fully to wash his hands in a noisy gush and splash! The other son barely squeaks open the thinnest stream possible, and spends some time making sure it’s absolutely the smallest amount of water that can come out of the faucet before beginning an elaborate “drip-wash” routine.
This photo is old now. It’s from my sons’ gymnastics end-of-year show event when they were two and four. And you can take a guess at which boy is my “gusher” and which is my “conservative washer!”
Creating Healthy Hygiene Habits for Kids!
While I’m still teaching them to be thorough with their handwashing (and use soap!), I’m glad they’re enjoying it and not forgetting to wash their hands!
We’re always working to create healthy hygiene habits for our boys. But especially when kids are young, getting those healthy hygiene habits established early will serve them well! We want kids to develop independence as toddlers. And then continue these routines as they grow! Developing routines can help with making good hygiene a positive habit, not a dreaded chore or a forgotten task.
Washing hands regularly, with soap and water, is a great healthy hygiene habit most three year olds can learn in a short time. Plus, hand washing is just fun! Right?! You’ve got soap, bubbles, water, fluffy towels, maybe a steps tool to get up and down to the sink! What’s not to love!?
Healthy Hygiene Habits for Kids: Handwashing Routines Printable
I created this chart for my toddler to show him when he should be washing his hands. We posted it in key locations around the house, especially where he might do some of these activities!
- After using the toilet
- After playing outside
- After sneezing/blowing nose
- After shaking hands
- After touching animals
- Before eating or preparing
- Before touching babies
- Before touching face (this is SUCH a hard one, but worth mentioning because we all touch our face habitually)
I also added the HOW to wash your hands properly, because I realized my boys were swishing water over the backs of their hands only. Or putting a blob of soap on their hands and promptly rinsing it off before scrubbing. Yikes! So now we’ve talked about how to get full coverage washing. Like making sure you suds and scrub BEFORE rinsing. And getting all the nooks and crannies.
Some charts like this even show scrubbing fingernails inside each palm to scrub the soap into the nail bed. Not a bad idea!
You can download this 2-page file as a FREE printable at the end of this post! Plus, it includes a BONUS Sneezing Guide! I figured kids might get a kick out of that!
You can teach kids to sing a song so they wash their hands long enough. The Happy Birthday song or Twinkle, Twinkle are good choices. Twinkle will need to be sung as slowly as they are able. Tell them it’s like they’re trying to put a baby to sleep so not to go too fast!
Healthy Hygiene Habits aren’t just for kids!
Why do we need to be reminded to form healthy habits!? Well…at the time I wrote this post, there was no such thing as Coronavirus (COVID-19).
But even then… people’s hygiene habits were just – gross! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched adults walk out of a public restroom without washing their hands! Blech! Sorry, that is just not okay! And recently I saw a Facebook post going around about whether or not to sit on public toilet seats! (as in without anything between your skin and the seat). Oh dear, I can’t even!
There’s plenty of “advanced hygiene” tips we could all use reminders on!
What healthy habit are you working on with your kids or in your home?