Written by Team ParentCircle and published on 11 October 2021.
Does your child know washing hands is a great start to keep germs away? Here's how you can help your child understand the benefits and importance of washing hands the proper way
A handmade clay doll, a dirty little pebble, a mud-drenched play ball - just a few of the many goodies a child brings back home. But, with them come the unwelcome guests in the form of disease-yielding germs. Yes, it is never easy to stop your child from the muddy world outside. It can get more difficult when he does not pay heed to your repeated calls to wash his hands or take a shower.
Germs are everywhere and can easily be transferred from hands, feet and skin to our bodies. Some of these germs can cause diarrhea, food poisoning, respiratory infections and malnutrition, among others. Although germs are not visible to the naked eye, they are present everywhere, from the surfaces of children's toys to the handrails on public transport, and to other objects of everyday use.
A rapid increase in the spread of disease-causing germs can be attributed to the following reasons:
Washing hands is the primary defense mechanism against germs. It is by far the most effective way to keep children from falling sick. When your child comes in contact with disease-prone germs, she inadvertently becomes a germ-carrier. All it takes is a touch. Proximity to an infected person's eyes, nose, mouth, hands or even sharing the same breathing space can prove damaging. One member getting infected is all it takes for the entire family to fall sick by the same bug. Dirty hands have the potential to become the root cause of many ailments.
"Children need to be taught that washing hands is the best way to avoid ailments like a runny nose, bad throat, tummy aches and even itchy skin. Get your child to think about all the things he touched during the day - from the toilet to the telephone. Teach him how he might have caught millions of germs through these contacts. Parents should instill an element of fun while teaching their children the importance of keeping their hands clean. I strongly believe that every parent should lead by example," opines Dr Pooja Bhrigu, Chief Paediatrician and Director, Bhrigu Maternity Hospital, Raipur.
For your child to clearly understand why it is important to wash her hands, explain to her the following benefits.
This step-by-step instruction to your child will help her maximize the benefits of washing hands:
When to wash the hands
Ensure your child washes hands with soap:
In addition to washing hands, parents should also teach their children good sanitation habits that can eradicate diseases even before they manifest. In our crusade against the relentless invasion of germs and viruses, the most effective solution is, surprisingly, the simplest too.
Educating children about sanitation and hygiene in everyday life is key to good health and development. When parents demonstrate good sanitation practices, children also find it easier to learn and follow them. Here's how you can teach your child the importance of sanitation and hygiene:
These simple methods of ensuring cleanliness goes a long way in preventing children from falling ill. It empowers them to take the responsibility of their health into their own hands. It is important to explain to children the importance of sanitation and hygiene, and the consequences of not following healthy habits.
Here is some interesting information on washing hands, provided by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services :
Hand washing is one of the most effective methods of preventing diseases. A simple act of washing hands whenever required can go a long way in keeping your child healthy and happy. As a parent, set an example in doing it, so that your little one learns from you. It is, without a doubt, one of the biggest life lessons you could teach her. Go, get your child to enjoy hand washing. All you need is soap and water, and plenty of intent. After all, you'd be the happiest person if your household is the healthiest.