Washing Hands

Hand washing is a routine which many parents overlook, instead choosing to use a rag or towel to clean their child’s hands. However, something that seemingly should only last for only a handful of seconds can be drawn out to over a minute.

  • Self-help/independence: Washing hands starts before a tap is turned. You can initiate the routine by first giving your child a reason to wash their hands: “Look! Dirty hands”. When your child looks at his/her hands, you can either ask “what should we do?” or suggest “we should wash our hands”. This is dependent on the skill level of your child.


  • Fine motor: Have your child turn the tap on/off. The amount of fine motor involved will be dependent on the type of tap you are trying to turn on/off


  • Understanding instructions: Tell your child what the next step is: “tap on, rub hands, get soap” etc


  • Adjectives/comparatives: Change the temperature of the water periodically and comment on whether it is hot or cold and ponder whether you should make it hotter or colder


  • Sequencing: Help your child understand the steps involved in the routine and also plan what to do next: “first tap on, then rub hands” or “first tap on, then soap, then rub hands”. By using “first/then” you are helping your child realise that there are logical sequences to routines which in turn assists in developing their self-help skills. It also requires your child to use his/her short term memory system to remember the second part of the instruction while completing the first part.

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