Why should a child’s hands be washed?
If the little ones discover the world around them first with their eyes, they don’t miss a second to touch everything with their little hands, which they often bring to their mouths afterwards. Hand washing is an essential hygiene gesture. He rid them of germs and viruses to avoid transmission to people or other objects. Wash the hands of small children prevents the development of diseases such as colds or flu, for example. Indeed, by touching his nose or coughing into his hands, the small child will spread the microbes in the form of micro droplets or mucus, contact with a person or an object will be enough to contaminate them.
At what age should a baby be taught to wash their hands?
From 15-18 months, you can start teaching your baby to wash their hands like a grown-up. In the beginning, teach him the right gestures by doing them yourself with him. Explain to your child that he must first wet his hands with running water (cold or hot water, it does not matter, the effectiveness is the same as long as you soap his hands correctly). Then, remove his hands from the water and lather them up to the wrists with liquid or solid soap, in sufficient quantity. Teach him to gently rub the back and the palms of his two hands without forgetting between the fingers and the nails. Soap, like a valiant guardian fighting against nasty bacteria, must seek them in every nook and cranny (saying a colorful sentence, like this one, to the little one during hand washing can be a good way to make him understand the action of the soap on his hands and make him want to wash them regularly). Then rinse thoroughly and dry hands with a towel.
There are also very practical accessories such as nail brushes or school soap which makes it easier to handle. You can arrange a space at child height, like those found in the pedagogy of Maria Montessori. These learning sinks are now commercially available, but you can also make one with a bedside table and a basin, for example.
How many times a day should children’s hands be washed?
Washing children’s hands should be systematic:
- Just before meals: breakfast, snack, lunch and dinner. Children often touch their food with their fingers (and what a pleasure to discover food in this way!), washing their hands after meals is also recommended.
- Before and especially after going on the potty or the toilet. Even if the child does not yet wipe himself, it is better to teach him early in his toilet training.
- Before but after changing, especially for children who like to touch everything around the changing table.
- After school, a trip to the park or after taking public transport… After going outside, as soon as the child comes home, going through the “hand cleaning” box must become a reflex.
- After playing and petting a cat, a dog, a hamster…any pet.
- Regularly throughout the day when there is a sick family member at home.
How long should children’s handwashing last?
Teach your child to wash their hands from an early age for a duration of 20 to 30 seconds. To make this moment more playful and make sure that washing is done as it should be on time, you can teach him to sing a little nursery rhyme (like that of the three little bears at the river), or have him repeat funny words several times, for a duration equal to this washing time.
Can I wash my child’s hands with hydroalcoholic gel?
Often used in recent years, to clean the hands of adults but also children, hydroalcoholic gel rids the hands of germs but does not replace hand washing with soap and water. This gel should not be used for children under 3 years old and should only be used if really necessary for older children. You can equip yourself with a bottle of water and soap in the changing bag for possible hand washing wherever you go.
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