Sunday, 31 May 2015

Teaching Kids About Hygiene, Health and The Importance of Hand Washing


*This post is brought to you in collaboration with Dettol.

Let me suggest that kids and dirt and germs are a trilogy of tragedy as far as cleanliness goes. Boys in particular, have an almost unnatural attraction to the lure of grub don't they? I once Pinned a quote that described them as 'noise with dirt on it.'

Oh so true!

I am as militant a Mum as any when it comes to hand washing and small people in general. So nothing grosses me more than seeing my kids feeding their faces after school or play with filthy hands. (No sooner had I typed that sentence when a child appeared next to me doing just that! Eww!)

Promptly sent off to the sink with marching orders!

As adults we're all well aware that poor hygiene habits can lead to illness and the spread of germs. Teaching kids this important lesson can be a bit of a chore though because, let's face it - germs are a bit of a bore since you can't actually see them. Plus, kids are forgetful, disinterested and careless and that's at the best of times.

Possibly the only time I've ever had my kids really engrossed in the good habit of hand washing was following a rotten bout of gastro a couple of years back. The illness cycled through our home several times over for a number of months and in its trail, it seemed to teach the kids through grave necessity, that germs were in fact a very real and devastating thing.

It was a case of  'wha'd'ya know, Mum wasn't telling tales after all!'

Hand washing quickly became an impressive norm around our home but its effects have only been sporadic in the long term. (As in, bordering on forgotten entirely without constant prompting.)

Which quite frankly, leaves me frustrated and still grossed-out on occasion. (Like the instance five minutes earlier in this post!)



Like all things educational when it comes to kids, teaching a lesson is best done in a fun and 'hands-on' approach and learning the importance of hand washing can be all that with a little thought and preparation. Something as simple as filling your kitchen sink with some warm bubbly water filled with some antibacterial hand wash such as Dettol, can pull the interest of the younger kids instantly.

Pop a few plastic dishes or tea set plates and cups in the water and let the kids do some pretend dishes just like Mum and Dad. You can add bath toys too. Water play is a fantastic way to keep the kids' hands in the sink long enough to become effectively clean and germ-free. Consider placing a little bowl of plastic animals next to the sink permanently so that kids can bathe their little friends each time they need to wash.


Regardless of age, begin to teach your children how to wash their hands thoroughly by example. Let them watch you as you demonstrate and lather the front and backs of your hands as well as between your fingers and nails. Keep a nail brush at every sink where the kids can reach it and encourage them to really scrub-up with it.

And one BIG rule - never forget yourself and get caught out not washing your own hands after an outing, a visit to the bathroom or sneezing! Kids are the first to spot your error and will yell about it to everyone within earshot and that my friends, can be so embarrassing! It's the perfect way to undermine your efforts. (But that would never happen right?!)


 
A Dettol automatic hand soap dispenser placed by your sink can be a great way of encouraging kids to remember to use soap when hand washing too. I have seen my fussy, grubby, critters kids avoid using an actual bar of soap on so many occasions simply because it had become cracked or dirty from the last use and they couldn't bear to touch it because it looked "Eww!"
 
The irony of that is lost on them entirely!
 

For outings and school bags, or when water is simply not available, a small bottle of personal hand sanitiser is perfect for killing germs on the go. Teach your kids how to use a gel sanitiser so that they can protect their health when out and about. They're great for parents too, for dealing with all the grub of the kids, first-aid situations, nappy changes and meal times while out.


Good hand habits can ensure your children remain healthy and likewise, help to prevent the spread of germs in your home. If everyone practices keeping their hands clean, you can really notice a dramatic drop in the incidence of illness within your family circle. Make it a fun exercise for the most vulnerable critters in your life and reap the benefits.

 
Have you ever played gastro-tag in your house?
How do you encourage and remind your kids to wash their hands at your place?
 
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17 comments:

  1. Love that pic of your son! Foam and fun of automatic dispensing...sounds like a winner!

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    1. He is a good little photographic model he he! I just aim and shoot with that one!

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  2. Great photo's! It's been a long time since I've had to teach hand washing and hygiene to kids but I do know that the auto dispensers and foam would be a hit! :-)

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    1. They're fun for adults too - I think I am developing a hand washing OCD...

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  3. My kids love that little device. I had to stop buying it.

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  4. Thankfully we have never had gastro go through our entire household. Just lucky I guess!
    I have the pump pack at the sink, and always carry the sanitiser, comes in very handy. Many a time hand washing has turned into dish washing with my kids.

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    1. Oh it's AWFUL when it does. It has happened twice to our family now and we were taken down within 30 minutes to an hour of the first case - all 8 of us! Dreadful stuff!

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  5. Replies
    1. It certainly makes you feel better about kid things. :D

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  6. Oh we sure have played gastro tag and I still feel scarred by it ;) We are huge Dettol fans in this house. I have the soap, sanitisers, the works! #teamIBOT

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    1. Mmm scarred is a good way of describing it too.

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  7. This post gives me the giggles! Back when I was teaching, I would always have a massive squirt bottle of dettol in the classroom and it was a rule that you had to use it after going to the toilet, blowing your nose and before eating. Best stuff ever!

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    1. That's a good rule too - I'll bet 90 percent of those kiddos never washed their hands with water prior. ;P

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  8. I put preventing a bout of Gastro from doing the rounds in my house due to my OCD of cleanliness when it first appeared once. There is something to be said of hand washing especially when illness is rife. I sprayed door handles, railings the lot with disinfectant to prevent the spread...it did work, lol!

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    Replies
    1. Haha! Me too! I spray everything and I mean EVERYTHING! You can never be too careful!

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