One good thing that has come from recent events is everyone stepping up their personal hygiene, amiright?? Not that anyone is spending time around other people to enjoy the fact that we’re all cleaner haha. But this has been the perfect time for encouraging good hygiene in kids.
With 2 and 4 year olds in my house, now is the prime time to set healthy habits for as they get older. If your kids are anything like mine, they are always on the move and never want to slow down for something as boring as washing their hands. And when they do, there’s a lot more playing and splashing in the water than there is actual washing up!
I was video chatting with a friend the other day who has a son a few months younger than Lulu. We were talking about how we still have to always remind our kids to actually wash their hands after going potty. When I thought about it more, I realized I have to constantly remind them about pretty much everything hygiene-related!
Now before you internally (or outwardly) judge me for having dirty kids, I DO make sure they’re clean. (And my friend is one of the cleanest people ever lol.) But if I’m not right there to make sure it gets done then it probably won’t!
For the most part I just chalk it up typical 2-4 year old behavior. Kids are gross, man, and they just don’t care! But if there is a fun and easy way to promote better habits, then I’m all for it. So I’ve compiled a few ideas that will help with encouraging good hygiene in kids.
Glitter Germ Spread
I don’t break the glitter out too often. When I do, my kids get really excited! So I had their full attention with this activity and it really made an impact.
Do your kids ever forget to cover their mouth when they cough or sneeze? Or if they do, it’s with their hands? This demonstration can help them see how germs get all over our hands and then spread to everything we touch.
If you are feeling brave you can do this inside, but I think the point can be made just as well outside! Put some glitter on an outdoor toy and let your kids play with it for a bit. Afterwards, they can give their sibling a high-five, turn a door knob, and pretty much touch anything that won’t be too hard to clean glitter off of.
In that respect, the one thing they should avoid is touching their face- glitter will not be enjoyable in any of their orifices. Use this as an extension of the demonstration by explaining to them that touching their face lets the germs get in through their eyes, nose, and mouth. Similarly to how they want to avoid that with the glitter because it would hurt, they should avoid it with germs because it could make them sick.
This is a really great visual for not only how easily germs can be spread, but also how a quick rinse isn’t sufficient to get it all off. When they try washing the glitter off it will require some soap and scrubbing, just like when washing germs off!
Runaway Germs Science Experiment
The next activity is a little science experiment that shows why soap is necessary to get rid of germs. It will amaze your kids, and it couldn’t be more simple!
Put some dyed water into a bowl and shake glitter “germs” into it. Make sure to only sprinkle a thin layer, as it won’t work if the glitter gets too heavy! Have your kids dip their fingers in the water and note how nothing happens- the germs just keep floating around!
Next, let the kiddos stick their fingers in some dish soap. Any works! Now they can try dipping their soap-covered finger back into the glitter water. Like magic, the “germs” all runaway because they can’t survive near the soap. This is why we need soap and not just water when we wash our hands- it makes the germs run off!
Check out this post for some more fun + easy science experiments like this one!
Songs to Sing While Washing Hands
So the big thing going around lately is setting different songs to the 20 seconds we should be spending washing my hands. I think it’s a really fun idea, especially when it comes to encouraging good hygiene in kids! But we all get stuck listening to kid songs all the time, so I made a list of a different genre.
This one is for all my fellow millenial mamas! I went through a bunch of our favorite pop artists/bands from the early 2000s to find ones with choruses close to 20 seconds. You’re welcome! Haha.
I may be a mean mom, but I generally put music on that I enjoy rather than kid songs. So it’s never a huge shocker to my kids when I start belting out something from the Spice Girls. If you sing silly and enthusiastically enough, your kids won’t even miss Baby Shark! Again, YOU’RE WELCOME 🙂
Here is the list I had way too much fun coming up with:
- Bye Bye Bye- N’SYNC
- Spice Up Your Life- The Spice Girls
- God Must’ve Spent A Little More Time On You- N’SYNC
- Oops I Did It Again- Britney Spears
- Independent Woman- Destiny’s Child (either bridge or chorus are both 20 seconds)
- I Want It That Way- The Backstreet Boys
- Mmmbop- Hanson
- No Scrubs- TLC
- He Loves You Not- Dream
- Crazy- Britney Spears
- Larger Than Life (plus techno music part right after chorus)- The Backstreet Boys
- Slam Dunk Da Funk- 5ive
- Its Gonna Be Me- N’SYNC
- I Can Love You Like That- All 4 One
- Survivor- Destiny’s Child
- Just Want You To Know- The Backstreet Boys (full chorus is 40 seconds. You can sing half or sing while kids take turns washing hands)
I can’t move on without telling a quick funny and slightly embarrassing story. When I was in 4th grade a group of friends and I came up with a dance to one of our favorite O-Town songs for the school talent show. But when we submitted it to the teachers, they told us we weren’t allowed to use our song!
What was the song you ask? Liquid Dreams *face palm*. Yes, we seriously wanted to dance to that song in front of the whole school LOL! I had absolutely no clue how inappropriate it was until I listened to it again in high school. Where were our parents during all of this?!?!?
And that is why O-Town isn’t on the list, sadly. Moving on!
The last way to encourage good hygiene in kids is to simply put up visual reminders right where stuff gets done! The two big things I would LOVE for Lulu to remember on her own are to flush and wash her hands after going potty. Aside from those, she doesn’t need any help in the bathroom, so it’d be great to get her totally independent in that area.
To help encourage this, I put up silly signs in our bathroom to remind her. Her favorite one is the stop sign on the door before she leaves the bathroom. She can’t really read, but knows what it says, so she loves coming out and telling me she did each thing on the list haha.
If you have kiddos that forget these things as well, I’m sharing the reminders I made below! I added some extra ones in there for different styles. Just sign up and you’ll get a collection of fun potty time reminders to print out!
Sign Up Below for your Printables!
In all seriousness, I hope you’re staying healthy and loved ones are healthy as well. This situation can feel never ending at times, but soon enough we’ll slowly start the trek back to normal! In the meantime, use these tips for encouraging good hygiene in your kids, and don’t forget to have fun with it!
Ok, now I’m gonna go put some Backstreet Boys on and drive my kids crazy rather than the opposite for a change!
Share this post, keep the germs 🙂