We all know how important it is to wash our hands. But every day, thousands of children are absent from school due to minor illnesses, often spread through poor hand hygiene.
Statistics from the Department of Education released last year showed that illness remains the most common reason for non-attendance, accounting for 58.8% of all pupil absences.
Nevertheless, convincing young children to wash their hands properly is a task in itself. Education is key to changing their views - making it fun is often the key!
Top tips for encouraging hand-washing
Here are a few ideas to engage the class, enhance your school image and reduce pupil absenteeism. It could also improve overall staff wellness, reducing the cost of supply teachers.
The correct amount of time to wash thoroughly with soap is 20 seconds. That's about as long as you need to sing the alphabet or Old MacDonald. Pick your own classic or modern favourite to engage the class. Encourage them sing together!
- Make soap fun (whilst making them learn!)
Plan a large group activity and make your own soap. This also ticks the box for lots of Early Years Foundation stage learning outcomes and is a great science project too.
All children love receiving stickers as a reward. It’s a great chance for them to boast about the hand washing lessons and show off their good hygiene.
The five steps of hand washing:
- Wet hands with clean, preferably warm water.
- Apply soap.
- Rub hands together for at least 20 seconds. Scrub all surfaces including between your fingers, the back of your hands, wrists, and under your fingernails too.
- Rinse your hands well under running water.
- Dry your hands using either a clean towel, under a dryer, or with paper towels.
Want more tips? Email [email protected] to request a hand hygiene resource pack designed by our suppler Kimberly-Clark for schools and nurseries.