Handwashing is always important for good health and hygiene. During the COVID-19 outbreak, it is also one of the simplest and most useful ways to keep ourselves, our families and our communities safe.
Washing our hands frequently isn’t enough. It’s essential that we’re also washing our hands correctly. Here are some handwashing tips to help you “up your handwashing game”:
Tips for Consistent and Correct Handwashing
- Download and print our visual routine for successful handwashing, available in both English and Spanish. (Converting other daily routines into visuals is also helpful. Watch the webinar Three Vital Steps to Successful Routines with Master Instructor Kim Jackson to learn more.)
- Remind children that washing their hands is an important way to help keep their loved ones and their community safe. Download and print our resource How I Can Help Keep It Safe at Home.
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends washing your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds, followed by a cleansing rinse of at least 10 more seconds. This is roughly the amount of time it takes to hum or sing “Happy Birthday” twice from beginning to end while scrubbing, then one more verse as you rinse with warm water. Print our list of handwashing songs for this song suggestion and many more.
- For each of our suggested handwashing songs, sing or hum the song twice while you scrub, then once more while you rinse.
- If you’d like to convert a personal favorite song into a handwashing accompaniment, try the handwashing lyrics generator at washyourlyrics.com. Type in your favorite song or artist. If it’s in the database, you’ll get a series of handwashing steps with lyrics to accompany each step.
- Be sure to dry hands completely.
- Ideally, turn off the faucet with a paper towel or personal hand towel. This is an important and easy way to prevent disease from spreading, even when you aren’t sick.
- Keep hands/fingers away from your face.
- Allow your kids to be well-informed about COVID-19 so they understand the importance of proper handwashing. Misleading information from rumors or social media can be upsetting. Listen to their concerns and respond with accurate, age-appropriate information. Our social stories Coronavirus Is a Big Word and Why Can’t I Go to School? are a helpful starting point. Consider having these conversations at a consistent time each day so children don’t hyper-focus on this potential stressor.
- For children who experience anxiety about life changes or getting the virus, use Conscious Discipline breathing techniques. Download our Safe Place Breathing Icons for visuals and directions.
We hope these handwashing tips are helpful. In addition, Conscious Discipline offers a wealth of social-emotional information online to help you during this challenging time. Some of the items are purchasable, but in keeping with our belief that we’re all in this together, many of our webinars, podcasts, videos, printables, articles and other items are absolutely free for you to use.