The thriller Contagion opens today about a global flu pandemic that strikes swiftly and lethally. And while this film is not for young children, its message certainly is: kids wash your hands!
Because children’s immune systems aren’t fully developed, germs can easily lead to illness. Research shows that frequent hand washing is one of the best ways for your family to avoid getting ill. Scrubbing with soap and warm water removes up to 90 percent of germs.
Here are some tips for teaching children how to properly wash their hands so they are more likely to stay healthy, especially with flu season approaching:
- Show your child how to create a lather over the hands, between fingers and around the nails. After scrubbing for 20 seconds in warm water, demonstrate rinsing by holding your hands downward so the water flows from the back of the hands to the fingertips.
- Kids don’t always know when they should wash their hands. But if they don’t wash frequently, they can expose themselves to germs by touching their eyes, noses or mouths. Teach them to wash before meals and after being outside, playing with pets or sneezing – and, of course, after using the bathroom.
- To encourage them to wash more frequently, make it fun! Children may be more inspired to wash their hands if the soap is a bright color or has a fragrance, like fruit. You can also tell your children to wash their hands for as long as it takes them to sing their ABCs!