Works for Me Wednesday: Kids and Proper Handwashing

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I will admit upfront that this was a bit manipulative on my part, but it worked! For some reason, my son would either fib and tell me he washed his hands after using the restroom when he actually hadn't, or he'd pass just the top digits of his fingers through the cold water without soap.

I was getting frustrated and nagging him a lot. We'd had the talk about using the restroom and germs.
I was even considering getting one of those kits with the glow in the dark powder to demonstrate how germs spread. But the solution turned out to be a lot easier.
I'd stocked up on foaming antibacterial hand soap during a Bath and Body works sale. I use foam instead gel soap because otherwise my son leaves little snail trails all over the sink.

One day, after he came out of the bathroom, I asked if he'd washed and he said, "yes, see?" and turned his hands back and forth in front of my face. He was so close, I could smell the lingering scent of the soap (I think it was Sweet Pea) and I thought A Ha!
The next time he used the loo, I asked again about the washing but this time said, "I don't believe you." He got a little upset and I took him into the bathroom.
Me: You know why I don't think you washed your hands very well?
Drama Kid: No, why?
Me: Because I can't smell anything.
DK: [looks totally confused]
Me: Here, let me show you.
I wash my hands really well, scrubbing both sides and dry them.
Me: Now smell my hands. Can you smell the soap?
DK: [knows he been caught] Yes, I smell it.
Me: These soaps I buy all have a different smell. So if you tell Mommy you washed your hands, but I can't smell anything, I'll know you were lying. And lying is a what?
DK: A big no no in our house.
Me: That's right, now wash again please.
So now, he knows I'm checking for the smell! And he gets in trouble for lying, not the poor hand washing. Kinda sneaky, but he washes better and I don't sound like a broken record anymore.
Is handwashing another sore spot in your house? How did you deal with it?

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  1. This is perfect. I never thought about smelling their hands. I do smell their breath to check for toothpaste, sometimes that doesn't work out so well for me.

    I LOVE Bath and Body Works. Especially their hand soaps. I stock up at the sales, big time.

    Thanks for the tip!

  2. WGM- I was checking his breath too but he figured out that mouthwash confuses me. So now I'm back to being the tooth brushing police.

  3. My kiddo does the same thing, and I've always been more concerned about the lying than the hand-washing. I started smelling his hands a while ago ('cause you know, I've got all KINDS of smelly soaps in my house!) and it really does work!

    Now I usually let him pick out the "flavor" of soap he wants when we go shopping so he can use whichever is his favorite.

  4. I think our children are soulmates. They will probably go to prom together.

    My daughter does the exact same thing. And NOW I know what to do about it.



  5. Cheri- I don't know what it is with boys! He wants to get back to having fun so badly he cuts all kinds of corners!

    HJ- Yep, the lying about it really bugged me. If he'll lie about hand washing, what WON'T he lie about later?!

    SDM- I think the sale is still going on. 5 for $15 on the pumps and the glycerin bars are $1 each. Let me know if it helps you. Did you find any sheets?

  6. That is an awesome idea!! I learned pretty quick that white hand towells in the bathroom were a huge mistake ;)

  7. No sheets yet.
    But I'll let you know!



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