HEALTHY LIVING: A great way to teach toddlers to wash their hands

This morning as I stood in the nursery reception I was surrounded by sneezes, snotty noses, coughs and colds, and the temptation to just go home and hibernate instead of going to work was strong.

As the parents of a young tactile sensory seeker, that’s a child who touches everything, H and I go through a lot during the colder months. Only last week it was chickenpox that kept us housebound, this week it’s Coronavirus that now has our full attention.

We all know there are many ways to prevent catching bugs, from washing our hands to avoiding close contact with sick people. Keeping the house well ventilated too can help eliminate moist, damp conditions where bacteria and viruses thrive.

However, while washing our own hands can certainly stop the spread of germs, getting toddlers like little C to do it – and do it right – was proving a real challenge.

Each evening H and I come home from work to a very grubby child and his clothes are stripped off him and bundled into the washing machine almost as soon as he gets through the door. Previously we would then nag to get him to wash his hands, but that all changed recently thanks to his very clever nursery worker.

While we were trying all sorts of tactics on the home front, by placing sweet-smelling scented antibacterial wash and coloured soap with sparkles in it on the sink.

All it really took was some creative thinking and a bit of ingenuity to drive the message home with a glitter germs experiment.

What you need:

A dish, water, soap and glitter.

First of all, pour water into the dish and sprinkle glitter over the surface. When soap is added to the dish, the germs (glitter) move away.

A little bit of a pep talk about how soap gets rid of germs – and voila! We now have a child who loves to wash his hands … and talks non-stop about the importance of getting rid of germs. Why not try it?


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