4 ways to get children to wash their hands

4 ways to get children to wash their hands

Dr Myriam Sidibe from Lifebuoy gave her advice on why and how to get your kids to wash their hands – and properly.


Children have to learn the importance of washing their hands to maintain good hygiene and ward off germs and sickness.

Four out of five people don’t wash their hands after going to the bathroom, and that’s a fact!

‘There’s a general tendency to just walk past the sink,’ says Dr Myriam Sidibe, spokesperson for Lifebuoy and initiator of Global Hand Washing Day. ‘Recent research illustrating how many germs are on the typical keyboard show just how big a problem this is,’ she says.

There are five key occasions to wash your hands.

1) Before breakfast
2) Before lunch
3) Before dinner
4) During your bath
5) After going to the toilet

Dr Myriam Sidibe, Global Handwashing Day co-founder and Unilever Hygiene and Nutrition Social Mission Director for Africa

Dr Myriam with the children from LifeBuoy learning how to wash their hands correctly.

That’s a lot for a little kid – so how do you get them involved?

Here are 4 ways to get children to wash their hands:

‘That’s the only way to make it a habit!’ says Myriam. Every time they go the loo, and at every meal, encourage them to wash their hands.

It takes 21 days to form a habit, so Miriam encourages parents to set up a 21-day calendar with stickers awarded for correct hand washing.

‘Turn the older children into coaches for the younger ones,’ advises Myriam. It’s also important to say things like, ‘All of your friends are doing it’ instead of ‘None of your friends are doing it’. The latter phrase makes enforces the belief that it’s not part of the norm to wash your hands.

‘If your kids see you walk past the sink, they’ll know you’re not following your own words,’ says Miriam.

Ensure the hand washing is abrasive and long enough to actually wash off the germs!
According to the World Health Organisation, diarrhoea disease is the second leading cause of death in children under the age of five, with pneumonia a close runner up. Hand washing is the best way of preventing killer germs from making an impact.

Watch the video below:


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