Why it's important to teach children to wash their hands

Updated: Aug 3

We all know that schools are breeding grounds for coughs, colds and other nasties. Young children often do not think to wash their hands after using the bathroom or consistently through the day.

Most schools have a good handwashing program but it's checking before break, after break and at random times during the day - have you washed your hands?

As with all instructions to young children, you must model, model and model again.

What does it mean to wash your hands?

How should you wash your hands?

Do you need to dry your hands?

Develop a set of rules with your students such as:


- they look dirty

- before eating

- after eating

- after blowing my nose

- after playing in the dirt

- after going to the toilet

Use these discussions as a sequencing lesson.

What do you do first, next, then and lastly?

Feed that sequencing into some real-world activities.

Use a recount to reinforce procedures.

In particular, may attention to visual comprehension by asking students 'what's happing in this picture?' and 'why do you think that?'. Let students explain their understanding and build their vocabulary or oral retells.

Create written responses to build those text connectives of 'first', 'then', 'next' and 'lastly'.

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