Creative ways to keep your children washing their hands in school
Getting young children to wash their hands regularly is an ongoing challenge for any parent. Trying to persuade them to do it during Covid-19 has only added to the stress.
With all that time invested though and children returning to school in September, how do you make sure that their handwashing routine continues when they aren’t under your supervision?
Two experts have compiled some creative ways to remind your children to keep a handwashing routine upon their return to the classroom as part of Equazen’s back to school series.
Create a handwash prompt timetable
Colin Foley, a specialist leader in education and training with 25 years teaching experience and member of the leading British Association “ADHD Foundation Neurodiversity Charity” said: “During the holidays, create a timetable that teaches them the times they should wash their hands. Include lunchtimes and snack times in the timetable then a reminder for them to go and wash their hands and these parts of their day.
If they already have a planner, incorporate handwash prompts into it for after they have eaten, been outside and playtimes.”
A survey* of 6 to 14-year olds by Equazen, found that seven in ten children are nervous about the return to school. When asked what is making the trip back to the classroom most daunting, over a quarter (28%) were concerned they wouldn’t remember to wash their hands enough.
Give them a gift of clean hands
“Treat them to a hygiene pack which contains hand sanitiser, mask and wipes” explains Colin.
“There are plenty of child friendly products available such as branded and colourful sanitisers such as unicorn themed or smelling of their favourite sweets.
“Let them create their own kits during the school holidays as doing so will provide them with a sense of responsibility to keep it and use it.”
“Then let your child take the kit to school with them when they go back if they want to.”
Get musical and create your own hand wash song
Emma Weaver, who is an Early Years’ Service Lead at the ADHD Foundation recommends a memorable rhyme.
“The novelty of singing Happy Birthday whilst washing their hands may have worn off for your child but it worked because it’s around 20 seconds long so ensured they washed for the recommended time.
“If you’ve exhausted this one, singing the chorus lyrics to ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ lasts around 20 seconds.
“Or, if you are feeling creative, come up with your own a song, rhyme or rap together as a fun exercise during the school holidays. They may even help by teaching it to the other kids.
“The patterns in rhyme or music will help your child to remember. Similarly, rehearse how to cover a sneeze or cough with their elbow and model this for them at home.”
Nearly a third (30%) of children asked about the return to school* were also worried that others won’t be as responsible about social distancing and handwashing as them.
*The survey commissioned by Equazen and carried out by OnePoll asked 1000 UK children aged 6-14 years old.