This is still the number one piece of advice from the government. Not only will it benefit us all whilst the pandemic continues, developing good handwashing skills will positively impact the rest of your child’s life.

We began checking and improving on everyone’s handwashing at Teatimers as soon as it became clear we needed to act. It became clear on day 1 just how poor the general level of handwashing skill was amongst the children for their age The older the child, the worse the skills got!

Fortunately, it is an easy skill to learn and the children are now doing a reasonable job under supervision but it is clear that, as parents and carers, we have a lot to do. It’s safe to assume all our children knew how to wash their hands at some point – if they went to our pre-school then we taught them too. However, it’s pretty clear that as time goes by we come to assume they are doing a reasonable job when in reality their skills are dwindling.

I would be prepared to bet that a significant majority of children will fall back to their previous level of handwashing before coronavirus goes away unless we keep working on them until habits are ingrained. This is a job for Parents, relatives and Teatimers. Schools can help but they are not built or staffed to make long term supervision of handwashing a realistic possibility.

Classic signs of poor handwashing include

  • They haven’t been away from you long enough to have done the job properly.
  • Wet hands after they have left the bathroom
  • Signs of drying their hands on their clothes
  • Or even just obviously dirty hands

The biggest problem we observe with children is their ‘need’ to have their hands in the water at all times when washing with soap. This of course means the soap is long gone before it does any real good. If they struggle with this wet their hands, apply soap then move them away from the sink. Only let them return to the sink once the 20 seconds rubbing is up.