Friday, January 25, 2013

staying healthy during the flu season: handwashing fun for kids

the flu and cold season has been scary this year! luckily, my children have managed to sneak through without any major sicknesses. although getting the flu shot is highly recommended, it doesn't protect from everything, i believe hand washing is one of the most important ways to prevent sickness from spreading. sometimes that means spending a lot of time at the sink, especially during this time of year.

as an assistant director and health and safety coordinator while working in early childhood education several years ago, one thing i stressed the most was the importance of hand washing to my employees and children. with a special demonstration, using glitter and soap, you can give a visual of proper hand washing procedures. this is especially fun for children and a great way to teach children about staying healthy by keeping "mr. germ-o" away.

the demonstration is simple... first, cover your hands, or your child's hands, in glitter (regular glitter works best. just not the big chunky glitter). then with the help of a partner, cover your eyes with a blindfold and wash your hands like you normally would. after your hands are washed, have your partner remove the blindfold to reveal your hands.

MOST people, and especially children, will discover that there is still quite a bit of glitter on their hands, especially around their wrists, on the backs of their hands, and under their nails. every little speck of glitter represents a germ they left behind when they washed their hands. so, next time they touch something or put their hands in their mouth, they are spreading mr. germ-o to other surfaces, and even putting him into their mouth.

once you have recognized the germs left behind, rewash hands again, paying attention to those areas that were missed.

teach children to sing their ABC's one good time while washing their hands. one performance of ABC's is the length of time you want to encourage children to spend washing their hands each time, making sure to pay attention to wrists, the back of hands, and the fingertips.


i personally love foaming hand soaps, like dial anti-bacterial foaming hand wash, the best because they provide a great lather that really gets in there and gets hands clean without over drying. this is especially important to me during the winter season when germs are at their highest and hand washing is frequent. 


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EVERYONE should always wash their hands...

  • before and after preparing food
  • before and after eating food
  • after using the bathroom, assisting a child to the bathroom, or changing a diaper
  • after wiping or blowing your nose or assisting a child with a runny nose (or after your kid picks his nose)
  • after coughing
  • after playing outside
  • before and after playing in a sensory table activity, especially one with water
  • after playing with other children
  • right before leaving a public place (don't want to carry any of those germs with you!)
  • after touching any kind of animal, even a pet
  • before holding a baby
  • anytime hands are visibly dirty

anti-bacterial hand soaps and hand sanitizers do not take the place of proper hand washing techniques! used in combination with proper hand washing, these products work best.


as a purex insider, i was provided with the two bottles of dial hand soap for this post. all opinions are mine and no way influenced my anyone.


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