Knowledge Centre

Teach Your Kids the Importance of Hygiene This Hand Washing Awareness Week ​

It may appear trivial but when your child is washing hands, they are doing more than just following your instructions. Your child is actually taking a step towards better hygiene, which is the first step in the fight against illnesses and other communicable diseases.

To give you a better picture, proper hand-washing can protect about 1 out of every 3 children from getting sick with diarrhea and prevent around 20% incidents of respiratory infections like pneumonia that affect children.

The small act of washing hands with soap a few times a day can drastically reduce the chances of your children falling ill. As parents, it is our responsibility to make them aware of the importance of washing hands and to help them develop this habit.

The National Hand Washing Awareness Week (Dec 1- Dec 7) is the perfect opportunity to shed light on the importance of washing hands and spread awareness about how inculcating this simple habit can benefit the lives of many.

Why should you wash your hands regularly?

Hand-washing can help us prevent infections as it rids our hands of disease causing germs. There are a number of ways we can introduce germs into our system, some of which are as follows:

  • We touch our eyes, nose and mouth without realizing it. Dirty hands can cause germs from our hands to enter the body through eyes, nose or mouth.

  • Eating food with unwashed hands can cause germs to enter our body through food resulting in diarrhea or food poisoning.

  • Germs from your hand can get transferred to other objects as well to other person’s hands.

Washing hands regularly can –

  • Reduce diarrhea by 42-44%

  • Reduce stomach illness in people with a weak immune system by 58%

  • Reduce respiratory illness by 16%

  • Reduce gastrointestinal illness in schoolchildren by 29-57%

When Should Kids Wash Hands?

Kids should wash hands with soap multiple times a day. Every time they wash hands, it is important to rub hands with soap properly for 20 seconds or more before washing them with clean water. It is important to clean both the palm and back of your hands as well as the space between the fingers. Do not forget to occasionally clean the fingernails.

Children should religiously wash hands at the following times:

  • After using the toilet

  • Before and after eating or handling food

  • After playing outdoors

  • After coughing, sneezing or clearing your nose

  • After touching animals or anyone who is ill

  • After touching anything that is dirty

The 5-Step Procedure to Wash Hands The Right Way

Simply washing hands is not enough. It is important to wash handsthe right way by following the 5-step process given below.

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water

  • Apply soap and lather your hands by rubbing them together

  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds

  • Rinse your hands and remove soap thoroughly under clean, running water

  • Dry your hands using a dry and clean towel. You can also use a tissue or air dry them.

How to Teach Children Personal Hygiene?

Young children love their bathroom time, especially playing with water. They love their emerging sense of independence and want to handle soap and hand-washing on their own. In order to help kids wash their hands properly, it is important to make it a fun activity.

Every child is different and therefore as a parent you need to devise a strategy that will work best for your child.

  • In order to ensure that they rub soap for 20 seconds use a fun rhyme. A counting song from 1 to 20,the happy birthday song, a school prayeror any other song or poem that will keep them engaged for 20-30 seconds is a good option.

  • Lightly sprinkle a small amount of glitter before they go to wash hands and ask them to clean all the shiny stuff from their hands.

  • Pick up a special kids’ soap that come in different shapes or a bottle of liquid soap that resembles their favourite cartoon character. This is another way to get them excited about a mundane yet important activity.

Conclusion

Washing hands with soap is not an optional activity but a habit that will push your child towards following good hygiene. Hand-washing along with other hygiene habits like brushing teeth, bathing, brushing hair, etc. should be inculcated in childrenfrom a very young age.

References:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1473309903006066
https://www.nhp.gov.in/global-handwashing-day-2019_pg


Awards & Recognition