8 great ways to encourage children to wash their hands

15 May 2020 | Culture & Wellbeing, Primary

Schools, teachers and parents all play an important role in teaching children how to wash their hands and maintain good personal hygiene. Encouraging and reminding children to wash their hands regularly can be a challenging and time-consuming task. Whether it’s handwashing in early years, KS1 or KS2, it can all be a bit of a struggle!

The importance of handwashing in schools can’t be ignored but redesigning or redecorating bathrooms may well be your ideal, out-of-reach scenario. We’ve got some handwashing project ideas below that can help in promoting good personal hygiene to pupils when budgets are tight.

 

1. Make a ‘toilet pass’ from soap

If children in your school require a toilet pass to leave the classroom, turn a standard piece of paper or a tag into something which reminds them they need to wash their hands. When they need to carry a bottle of soap back and forth (don’t forget to wipe down the communal bottle after use), they’ll easily remember what it’s for!

 

2. Brighten up walls and mirrors

If you want children to be happy to spend time washing their hands, you should make the school toilets an attractive place to be. Painting inspirational images on the walls and decorating mirrors with something as simple as coloured duct tape will help little learners engage with and focus on what they should to be doing.

 

3. Make sinks more engaging

Similarly, little touches around the sink will ensure children are eager to stand there and wash their hands. Some stickers, coloured paint or easy-grip rubber covers can change their whole experience and promote good hygiene.

 

4. Theme your décor

If there’s a certain character, TV show or toy which is popular amongst your class at the current time, consider adding a poster using them to encourage handwashing in the school bathrooms. Choose the current flavour of the month character and add a speech bubble hygiene reminder!

5. Sing a hand-washing song

Teaching children a special song to sing when washing their hands is a great way for them to remember what they should be doing and encourages them to clean their hands for the appropriate length of time too. Consider adding a poster with lyrics above the sinks.

 

6. Add toys or prizes to soap

Blocks of soap can be bought with little toys or prizes hidden in the centre, or if you’re feeling creative, you can make your own. This is a great way to get children scrubbing their hands, because they’ll need to use up the soap if they want to win the prize!

7. Mix in some glitter

If you use liquid soap, consider mixing in some glitter to make it more attractive. Again, this will help encourage children to scrub their hands because hey, what child doesn’t love glitter?

 

8. Don’t forget a friendly reminder

And of course, a helpful reminder on the door before children leave the bathroom will also prompt them to go back and wash their hands, just in case they have forgotten. Making them could be a classroom art & craft activity and will help you save money on buying pre-made signs!

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