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Help kids master their bathroom behaviors

A recent study reveals that one in five adults neglects to wash their hands every time they use the bathroom; even fewer parents with kids under the age of 12 consistently wash their hands every time.

ENCOURAGING kids to practice good bathroom behaviors is not always an easy task. In fact, it’s not just kids who need a reminder to wash their hands. A recent study commissioned by Delta Faucet Company revealed that one in five adults neglects to wash their hands every time they use the bathroom; even fewer parents with kids under the age of 12 consistently wash their hands every time. This means it’s extra important for parents to pay attention to their own habits so they are setting a good example.

Victoria Pericon, family lifestyle expert, Delta Faucet spokesperson, and editor of SavvyMommy.com, is raising four kids in bustling New York City. She shares some insight and tips for getting kids to follow the rules of the bathroom.

Convenience is key

Bathroom tasks should be easy for a child to accomplish. Make sure kids have the right tools appropriate for their size and motor skills to make certain that bathroom learning is both safe and intuitive. According to the study from Delta Faucet, more than 50 percent of parents with children under the age of 12 provide a step stool near the sink to help kids reach the faucet. Ensuring that kids can easily reach is the first step toward teaching them to wash their hands.

Faucets that are easy to operate can also help to get the job done. Touch-activated or hands-free faucets for the bathroom help little hands reach the water, even if the handles are too far away. Faucets with Delta Touch2O Technology for the bathroom, introduced this year, turn on with a simple tap to the faucet handle or spout. For an entirely hands-free experience, Delta Faucet offers Touch2O.xt  Technology, which activates on contact or when you move your hands within the faucet sensing zone, which is anywhere within 4 inches of the faucet.

These types of faucets offer additional benefits any parent can appreciate, including automatic water shutoff when the water is left running – a perfect solution for forgetful children. With both types of electronically activated faucets, parents can also set the temperature manually with the handle so that when the faucet is tapped or waved on, the water flows at a comfortable temperature.

“Parents know that sometimes kids skip washing their hands after going to the bathroom if it seems too challenging,” says Pericon. “Having a stool handy, along with a highly reactive faucet that’s easy to use, can enable independence and make hand washing easier to accomplish, even when parents aren’t around.”

Make it fun

Getting clean may not sound like fun to a tot, but there are plenty of helpful tools and toys on the market designed to make it so. Cartoon character-inspired soaps, including some that transfer a stamp to the hand when the pump is depressed, add an element of fun to the process and are designed to make certain kids don’t forget to use soap when they’re washing. Pericon also recommends teaching children to sing a song while they wash up to remind them to spend enough time lathering at the sink. When the song is over, it’s time to rinse.

“Regardless of the method or tool parents choose, helping kids establish good bathroom habits is all about creating a routine that is exciting and easy to follow,” says Pericon.

This tactic, according to Pericon, works just as effectively with parents who may need an occasional reminder to wash. Rather than brightly colored soaps and sponges, for the master bathroom, add things you like near the sink, like fragrant soaps and fancy towels, to make the hand washing experience feel like less of a chore.

Reward with praise

Like all of us, children want to know when they do a good job. Praising them when they follow the bathroom rules, either with a hug, point system, or positive comment, will encourage them to continue their good behavior.

It’s also important to continue to reward them for washing their hands, even outside the bathroom setting, to reinforce the habit. Other opportunities to wash hands include before sitting down for a meal and after coming in from outside play time.

“One of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others is keeping our hands clean,” adds Pericon. “Establishing good behavior early is the key to making the lessons we teach as parents stick. From bathroom habits to everyday manners, kids will quickly learn that following the rules is simple and fun.” (ARAContent) ■

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