Young children have a healthy appetite for exploration and adventure, which can lead to messes. As their parent, all you can do is teach them how to remain healthy and wash their hands so that they don't catch any viruses. The following guide will help you ensure your child remains healthy before their next appointment with a doctor

How to Teach a Young Child About Handwashing

How do I explain why it’s important?

Germs can be a little complicated for a three- or four-year-old to understand, so focus on how dirty hands can make them sick or cause others to get sick. If they had bouts with illnesses in the past, ask them if they remember how those felt. Remind them that having clean hands will help prevent unnecessary trips to the doctor.  

When should they wash them?


Teach your child to always wash their hands before eating, touching their face, or touching a cut or scrape. They should also wash up after using the bathroom, blowing their nose, or being near a sick person.

Helping them remember when to wash is often the most challenging part of this process. Keep in mind that it's up to you to stay diligent about washing until it becomes more habitual. 

How should they wash them?

To properly wash their hands, they’ll need to wet them with water before adding some soap to their palms and rubbing them together. As they continue to rub, get them to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. This tactic will keep them entertained long enough to scrub the fronts and backs of their hands and under their nails for 20 seconds. When they're done, have them rinse all the suds away and dry up with a clean towel.

When should they use hand sanitizer?

While it’s not the best cleanser for sticky or dirty hands, a bottle of sanitizer is useful when there isn’t any soap available. Give them a couple of squirts when you're out running errands and don’t have any hand wipes. Instruct them to rub between their fingers for the most effective application.


If you want to keep your family healthy, turn to Dumas Family Practice for regular checkups. Based in Dumas, TX, this family-owned doctor’s office has provided preventative care and physicals to patients throughout the Northern Texas Panhandle for over 26 years. Their compassionate staff will ensure you feel comfortable during your visit. Call (806) 935-9005 to schedule an appointment, and visit their website to learn more about their practice.