COVID-19: Make washing hands a fun activity
With Coronavirus being highly contagious and spreading easily person-to-person, the CDC is advocating repeated handwashing to help prevent and minimize the outbreak. Recommending to wash and scrub for at least 20-30 seconds. While children appear to be at a lower risk of complications and fatalities to this disease, it’s important to stay healthy and avoid spreading the disease to those who are most vulnerable.
We put together a list of tips to make hand washing more fun and exciting for your little ones. Who knows, maybe dadda or mamma will end up washing theirs more too!
Let them choose their soap
Involve kids in the decision making by giving them the opportunity to choose their own soap. Ideally, you would take them to the store and spend some time sniffing the different soaps and have them choose their favorite scent (as they will be much more likely to wash their hands often when they truly feel like it’s their “special” nice smelling soap) However since social distancing is being highly recommended, try to be creative with this approach. If you can get any online, ask your child what their favorite smell is- or if you have any safe essential oils at home, you can also have them choose their favorite and add a drop to your current hand soap.
A toy inside the bar soap
If you can get one of those soap bars that have a little toy inside, kiddo will most likely want to wash their hands and use it often to get to the toy. You can also DIY your own to avoid leaving your home by grating your current bar soap to melt it and then adding the little toy when you remold it (and before it dries!) If you don’t have a small toy, you can add something of value like a coin- though make sure it’s clean first!
Soap in fun shapes or color
Instead of the usual circular/square ones buy soaps with fun shapes. Once again, you can also make one at home remolding it in any old container, candy/chocolate or ice cube mold with a fun shape that you might currently have. Having children pick a soap in their favorite color will help make it more enticing as well.
Bring Elsa or Paw Patrol's Chase into it
Get a soap dispenser that features their favorite cartoon characters. If you're staying in and have any stickers at home, you can stick them all over the current dispenser to make it more appealing.
Wash the mark off
Stamp their hands and make them wash their hands until its off. You can also draw an X or any other little design on their palms and the back of their hands with a washable marker or pen. Works extra well if you tell them it’s like a quest or a special mission to make the marking disappear.
The scientific way
Get real and explain bacteria and germs. If they’re still too young, try to explain it with drawings or in simple terms. A great way to make the germ abstract concept a bit more concrete is to roleplay killing germs. Next time you wash your hands try screaming "no you won't get rid of me that easily, ow ow ow what is that - soap?" and finish off with a normal voice: "bye bye germs" as the water drains down the sink.
Create a cool song to sing while they wash their hands. Make sure the song is 20 seconds or longer. Bonus points if you create a dance to go with it. You can use a part or the chorus of their favorite songs. Change up the lyrics so it fits the occasion. Some people sing to the tune of Row your boat: "wash wash wash your hands, wash them nice and clean. Scrub the fronts and scrub the backs and scrub the in betweens," singing it twice!
The consistency of the soap matters.
Try using a foaming soap instead of a liquid one. If you don't currently have a foaming dispenser, try to increase the foamy consistency by adding extra soap and lathering it up until you get bubbles. You can even show your kids tricks they’ll find fun like blowing the bubbles through the fingers.
Lead by example
Wash your hands often and in front of them. Also, wash your hands along with them every time they do it until it becomes a habit.