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Get Your Toddler to Regularly Wash Hands

Paul Banas
Author Paul Banas
Submitted 11-01-2007

You never know where your children have been and what they have been up to till you see their hands. Toddlers tend to collect germs on their hands from a variety of sources – contaminated surfaces, foods, even animals and animal waste. If they don’t wash their hands frequently enough, there is a strong chance they may get infected themselves and spread these germs to others.

Here are some of the infectious diseases commonly spread through hand-to-hand contact:

  • The common cold

  • Flu

  • Numerous gastrointestinal disorders, including infectious diarrhea
Teaching toddlers good hand-washing skills is a vital part of their grooming. Moreover, it teaches them to take care of their bodies.

Follow these steps to help maintain good hygiene in your family:

  • STEP 1: Be a role model. Wash your hands and your toddlers’ hands at the same time. Make sure they see you washing your hands after going to the bathroom or when you come in from outside. This may improve your health as well.

  • STEP 2: Talk about it. Toddlers often don’t follow what’s good and what’s bad. So say things like, “Look at all this dirt on my hands. I should wash that off.”

  • STEP 3: Make observations. Show your children how other people wash their hands. For example, doctors wash their hands before touching your child during a checkup. Point this out the next time your toddler gets a checkup.

  • STEP 4: Turn hand-washing into a routine. Wash your hands before every meal and do it everyday. The act of washing up is bound to become second nature to your children.

  • STEP 5: Make it easy for your children to reach the sink. Place a stool near a low sink for your toddlers.

  • STEP 6: Let them play. Play nurtures learning. Allow your children to pretend-wash their toys and figurines at the sink.
It is also helpful to buy special cool soaps made for kids to encourage hand washing. Teach your children about the difference between hot and cold water and how to operate the faucets when required.