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2 min read

Hand Washing is an important practical life skill that helps us to stay healthy and clean.

In addition to it’s hygienic benefits, hand washing also helps children develop:

  • Fine motor skills
  • Gross motor skills
  • Coordination
  • Concentration
  • Independence

Breaking Down The Steps

When learning a new skill, young child find it helpful when the task is broken down into steps.

Consider all of the steps below and create access for your child to be able to manage them safely and successfully.

A Learning Tower is also a great tool for bringing your child up to the level of the sink. A stool can be used for older children.

If you would feel comfortable having them closer to the ground, create a hand-washing station at a low table or on the floor. All you need is a bowl with a little water, soap and a towel.

DIY Your Own Guide

The guide below shows you how to break hand washing down into steps. It is important to demonstrate the steps so your child has a chance to see them up close with the water source, soap and towel they will be using.

You may also find it helpful to make your own guide for reference, using photos of your own set up with your hands or your child's. You can laminate it and post this by the sink for your child to refer to as they wash their hands.

1.Turn on the Water

2. Wet your Hands

3. Put Soap on your Hands

4. Rub your Hands Together and Lather Up for 20 seconds.

Create a lather by rubbing the palms together, wash the back of the hands, wash in between the fingers, and “scratch” your sudsy palm to wash under the fingernails.


5. Rinse the Soap off your Hands

6. Turn off the Water

7. Dry your Hands

Dry each hand one hand at a time. Place a folded drying cloth across the palm of one hand and then use it to wipe the front and back of the opposite hand. Repeat with other hand and then dry in between the fingers.



Some children will enjoy the hand washing process immensely and simply need the time and space to do it thoroughly.

Ideally your child will turn off the water while lathering but this may not always happen. The key is to give them the time to enjoy the activity for as long as they like. 

This will build the foundation for good hand washing habits as they get older. 

Children that try to rush through the process, may benefit from a timer to ensure they spend enough time washing, like this one

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