Teaching Handwashing To Young Children


Taking the time to teach little ones to wash their hands properly is very important. Handwashing is one of our best defenses against bacteria and viruses.

We have put together a list of helpful tips that will make it fun to teach toddlers and preschoolers how to wash their hands.

  • Songs/Videos: Use songs, videos and sing handwashing songs with your child. Make it fun, little ones learn through their senses: touching, seeing, hearing! We sing this Wiggles song:

  • Books and Online Resources: Read books about handwashing, germs and bacteria. I have a book that has a great example of handwashing to avoid getting sick and the consequences of a little one not washing her hands. My preschooler loves when we read the book and often comments on the topic and how he always washes his hands when after using the toilet, before meals and after playing outdoors. You can find books and other resources at your local library and online.
  • Use Art/Drawings: Explain the importance of proper handwashing by telling stories about it, use drawing, colouring and crafts to help little ones understand.
  • Be a Role Model: Wash your hands throughout the day with your child. If they see you washing your hands they will want to join in.
  • Make It Easy for Them: Keep a stool by the sink for easy reach and get a child friendly hand washing soap. We use Kandoo Hand Soap, it has a large foaming pump that is easy to use and coloured foam that stays in the child’s hands before being rinsed away. My little ones love their “green” soap!
  • Positive reinforcement: Get excited everytime they remember to wash their hands, reward them with positive reinforcement until it is a habit.

Do you have any other tips to help your little one remember to wash his/her hands? 

Disclosure: I am a Kandoo Ambassador and I receive free products and perks as part of the ambassadorship, however all views and opinions stated on this post are 100% my own.

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Angela V

Founder and Writer at One Smiley Monkey blog
Hi, my name is Angela van Tijn and I live in Vancouver, Canada with my wonderful husband, our two boys and our puppy. I am the founder and primary contributor behind One Smiley Monkey. Welcome to my blog!

15 responses to “Teaching Handwashing To Young Children”

  1. Thanks for sharing, great tips!

  2. consistency, consistency, consistency! Don’t miss a beat. After outside play, before/after eating, sneezing/coughing, etc…..

    Also doesn’t hurt to have some fun looking soap 🙂

    I’m also not a fan of Purell, or anything similar. Good old fashioned proper hand washing.

  3. These are all great tips,its so important

  4. This really is something that is as important as children learning to brush their teeth – it has to be the same too in that it becomes automatic for them to wash their hands. Not an easy thing to do so these tips will come in handy when teaching how important hand washing is to children.

  5. These are great tips for washing hands. A chart beside the sink to put stickers on could also be an incentive. I found it worked for other things. Because most young children love to play with water, it is really, as you say, making it a habit and using fragrant soap. The example of adults will help as well.

  6. My girl has also never really been sick beyond sniffles, and I’d like to keep that going for as long as possible…..sometimes I think I get her to wash a little more than necessary, if there’s such a thing!

  7. These are some really great tips I will have to remember.

  8. My mom had a hand washing song for us too!

  9. These are all such fantastic tips! I’ll be passing them on to my daughters!

  10. If you take the time to teach a child the correct way to do something it stays with them a lifetime

  11. Great tips! The foaming hand soap really does make it easier, doesn’t it!

  12. I think songs and videos are a great way to teach children just about anything. I know my kids paid attention to things more with songs.

  13. Thanks for this interesting post

  14. I know allot of adults that could use these tips!

  15. I’m also not a fan of Purell, or similar products,they dry out the skin,soap and water you cant beat it.

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