I used to try to cut as many corners as I possibly could when I was a child and a young teen. How much toilet paper could I use to still leave enough on the roll so I wouldn’t be required to change it? How far would the car drive, and could I justify not putting on my seat belt for the duration of the trip? What were my chances of getting sent back to wash my hands after a trip to the bathroom from a grossed-out adult, and did I really touch anything worthy of needing to wash my hands when I was in there anyway?
I remember these things.
I specifically remember not wanting to wash my hands. It was a waste of so much energy and as a kid, I had big plans for that energy.
Now, I am an adult. I change the toilet paper roll constantly. I always buckle up (how did I ever even find that a hassle?). And I never leave the bathroom without washing my hands. It is a healthy habit.
But now in my house, there are other people who don’t want to expend their boundless energies on washing their hands. And it has become my job to spend much of my limited energies on trying to make hand washing a habit for them.
I have definitely learned that training is a team sport. I would guess that Cameron has gotten more into the habit of washing his hands after a bathroom trip at daycare than at home. And grandparents somehow can always see when a kid leaves the washroom without washing, whereas I’m so scattered that I am hardly aware when my preschooler goes to the toilet as it is. Gratefully, with this team around me I’ve recently been able to stop reminding my four-year-old to wash after every bathroom trip, assured that he is doing it without needing the prodding.
To make hand-washing a habit, it has to be easy for kids. It is no coincidence that my child started washing his hands more regularly after we moved to our new house last year. The sink in our bathroom is quite low – so low that my preschooler doesn’t even need a step-stool to turn on the taps and pump the soap. We do have a stool to help the toddler reach and wash his hands too. Regardless of the size of your bathroom sink, a step-stool can be purchased to accommodate little limbs.
Pump-soap is another trick to keeping hand-washing simple (and fun). Choosing a soap that is designed for little hands and that is already frothy upon pumping it is the best option to encourage good hygiene. My kids adore Kandoo Moisturizing Hand Soap. The soap itself is a bright colour (purple or green!) and makes it easy for them to ensure the soap gets everywhere. They go crazy over the scent too. We started off using the Funny Berry option, and my husband commented that he would like to eat his hands after every washing. We’ve since refilled our dispenser with the Magic Melon scent and my kids actually asked to wash their hands when we made the switch.
If your kids are anything like mine, they need to feel like they are in control if anything is to get done. The trick is to make situations like hand-washing easy enough for them to do what you want them to do themselves. There are a lot of other amazing tricks to getting kids to wash their hands consistently, like this tip from Dr. G and this list of suggestions from Kandoo, but empowering kids to wash their hands by themselves is important for them and for you.
I’m a Kandoo Ambassador and will be reviewing a product a month for the next few months. Expect to see some awesome giveaways too. In return for this ambassadorship, I was provided with product and a few gift cards. Be sure to visit www.kandookids.ca for great tips and playful solutions.