When you have young children learning to use the toilet and playing in the garden it is very important for them to have a healthy handwashing technique. This can prevent a range of communicable diseases and can help to keep the kids happy and safe while they are learning.

Here are some tips: 

Make it fun to wash your hands

It's important not to turn handwashing into a chore so you can make it more fun by using the handwashing song. There are several versions of this available on Youtube if you need some help coming up with one, but one of the advantages of using a song is that it also makes sure that kids wash for the required 30 seconds and don't do a quick rinse and wander off. Another way to make it fun is to have a handwashing buddy (either a carer or parent) so that they have someone to sing with and don't wander off quickly to join their friends or continue with their games. 

Schedule it right

It's important to get the schedule right on handwashing. Three times is very important to wash your hands include after toileting (or any time that the kids have placed their hands into their nappy/underwear area), after playing outside and after touching animals as these are all times where you may get dirt and/or bacteria on the hands. Additionally, kids should wash their hands before eating in case they have any dirt on their hands that may make it into the mouth during eating. 

Have the right equipment

While it can be effective to use plain soap and water there are some simple things you can do to make the experience more visually appealing to kids. Using a clean liquid soap and a clear container can be extra fun if you submerge lego blocks or Disney figurines in the soap container. You can also stick characters to the bathroom mirror to remind kids to come over to the sink and wash their hands. Equally, themed soap bars that have a toy inside can help to encourage kids to have a hard scrub with the soap each time they wash their hands. 

If you are in charge of looking after kids, either at home or at a child care centre, it is a good idea to encourage the right habits with handwashing from an early age. This will help them to stay healthy and safe so they can have fun playing every day.