Of all of the life skills you have to teach your children as they grow up, washing is a pretty important one. After all, not only does it help them keep from catching certain illnesses and diseases, but cleanliness is also very important for any child who wants to make and keep friends. Thankfully, washing isn't very difficult and teaching it is easy as well. Here's what you need to do.
1. Stress the Importance of Proper Washing
Children who don't understand why washing is important are very likely to "forget" and run off and play instead. The first step to the washing process is learning why washing is important in the first place. Teach your children the basics about germs and sickness. Suddenly a quick washing won't seem like so much trouble after all!
2. Demonstrate Proper Washing Techniques
While washing may seem like second nature to those of us who have done it all of our lives, it isn't quite so simple for children who are just learning. So you'll have to teach them! Show your children how much soap they need and teach them to rub their hands together instead of just moving them under the water. Teach them to scrub first, before they wash the soap away.
3. Teach Them How Long to Wash
If your children always try to rinse and run, try teaching them some simple tricks to remember how long to wash. Children can't count seconds well, so you'll have to think of another clue. For handwashing, you may have your children sing the ABC song twice. In the tub, you may have them stay until they are pruney.
4. Make it Routine
Another great tip for handwashing success is making hand washing routine. If your children only occasionally wash their hands, they are more likely to forget. Teach them to wash every single time they use the restroom or eat their dinner, however, and they are much more likely to remember.
5. Give Them Plenty of Supervised Opportunities to Practice
You never know what part of washing your child is going to overlook; that's why it is important to supervise so you can offer feedback and instruction. Notice what your child is doing well and offer helpful feedback. This is the only way your child will know for sure if he or she is doing it right.
Thankfully, of all of the life skills your child has to learn, washing is one of the easiest ones to teach. It may take some time to master, but with plenty of practice and helpful guidance, your child will be able to wash independently before you know it.