We have so often heard ‘Practise makes perfect’. That’s a saying most of us live by and also try to inculcate in our kids as we know that an action when repeated multiple times gets etched into our memories…more so becomes muscle memory. This is true for any habit.
One of the key habits which we teach our children from the time they are infants is the habit of washing their hands- after using the toilet, before eating meals, after playing and so on.
But getting children to make it a part of their routine is not easy. I personally have availed of multiple routes to inculcate the habit in my son. Some play-way methods that I adopted with my son were:
- Created a story around germs and how they are like demons and can be harmful to us
- Stocked up colourful and color-changing handwash liquids to make hand washing a fun-filled affair
- Associated rewards with handwashing – giving sticker stars to being marked positive on his behaviour chart at home
- Prepared worksheets around the benefits of handwashing and coloring sheets for the same as well
In the urban areas, we are aware of the benefits of handwashing and do multiple things to inculcate the behaviour in our children. In the relatively remote areas the awareness about the criticality of handwashing prior to meals is quite poor. The parents are unaware themselves leading to a ripple effect on the children. I find this to be true even among my maid’s kids.
Even at school in the remote areas, the children at best use only water to wash their hands before meals which leads to a whole range of diseases they are exposed to. Additionally the children mostly use chalk to write whose remnants are mostly left behind as well and doesn’t get washed off completely.
The challenge of increasing awareness of handwashing has led Savlon to a simple yet ingenious idea – introducing soap in the chalk that the children use to write on their slates!!! So when they wash their hands even with plain water before meals, the soap in the chalk lathers up leading to a handwash scenario. This short-term campaign can be a successful way to bring about a behaviour change and inculcate hand washing as habit.
You can watch the video about the lovely initiative on the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVWUlWEfJ1k