Children and Handwashing

Do your children know the proper technique for hand washing? No? Mine either, and I’m a nurse. We practice and practice, and Max knows some of the times he should wash his hands like before he eats. But training a toddler healthy habits is like shaving a grizzly bear: they don’t like it. With pleas that he will grow up to a big kid, he just wants to rush through and get to the fun part – eating.

What’s the best way to teach your child to wash their hands? Teach them about the yucky germs! Make hand-washing fun (but not too fun, or you’ll be in for quite the clean up).

According to the CDC, there are several essential steps in hand washing, in case you need a review before moving on to those toddlers:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Sounds great, right? Easy enough? Now try convincing a toddler that this is more important than the yummy treat awaiting them after they’re done. Or the simply awesome toy they’re dying to play with. Doesn’t go over so well.

Fun tips for helping your child get interested in hand washing (because honestly, this is so important to prevent kids from bringing home all sorts of germs from school or daycare)

1. Get your child involved. Let them pick out a soap that they want to use. So what if it’s got paw patrol or Disney princesses on it, I’ll take that over the dreaded norovirus any day of the week. Let them pick out a hand towel at the store. One just for them to dry their hands. Designate it so it doesn’t get used by other family members. Letting children be in control, especially those independence-hungry toddlers, is beneficial.

2. Let the child pick a song to sing when hand-washing. Yes, count in your head and make sure it’s not a 10-second rendition of twinkle twinkle little star. But this goes right back to the control factor. They got to choose which song that they wanted to sing, instead of having to sing that song they didn’t get to pick themselves.

3. Germ education! Talk to your kids about those yucky little germs. Use terms they are able to understand. Words like influenza and norovirus are going to go right over their little heads. They don’t care. But those yucky mean germs on their hands and their noses, they can grasp that!

Hand-washing is important. I try to have Max wash as soon as we get home every day. It helps wash off those yucky germs from school, before he touches everything else in the house.


Winging it

Full time mom, full time nurse, full time wife (fiancé)

As a 26 year old, my friends spend their Saturday evenings dressing up, “going out”, and sleeping late the next day. My Saturday evening usually follows another weekend day at work, going home to my loving family, and continuing to work. A full time mom, full time nurse, and full time wife (well, fiancé). 

Taking care of others is a 100% of the time thing for me, while taking care of myself rings in at about 0.01%. 

My typical morning starts at 5:30 am, waking up my son for breakfast while the baby in my belly kicks and jabs away without minding where my ribs are getting sore. My fiancé gets to sleep in, luckily for him it’s how our schedule works. I wake up with Maximus, I feed him breakfast, and I take him to his preschool before driving myself across town to my full time job. He complains that I make him eat a good breakfast, instead of letting him eat peanut butter straight from the jar or half a bag of powdered donuts. I shove sticky fingers into clean clothes, attempt to wipe down his face, and we’re off to school. How do I do it? I wing it. 

Work starts early, With report from the night nurse starting at 7AM, sharp. I’m a registered nurse, I graduated from the University of Michigan School of Nursing, and enjoy being an RN. It keeps me on my toes, and to be honest the human body is fascinating. In my latest career endeavor, I’m an addictions nurse. I detox clients from drugs and alcohol and send them to the residential rehabilitation program. I do assessments, pass medications, and get to handle a decent amount of nursing. It’s not a bad job, but I work a full shift taking care of other people, without taking care of many of my own needs. With a bursting bladder and shoving bites of food into my mouth before rushing off to perform another task, I fit right into the description of nursing. 

And around 4pm, work is over. Assuming there’s nothing leftover that I neglected to do during the shift that I need to finish, and offering to do last minute tasks for the next shift of incoming nurses.

I rush back across town to pick up Max from preschool. I put on a smiling face and get ready to hear all about his day. He’s usually so excited to tell me, and even though I’m ready to go home and crawl in bed, it’s time to switch back from nurse-mode to mom-mode, and take care of the tiny human I’ve created. And don’t forget, there’s another tiny human floating around in my abdomen, who’s now moved away from my ribs and is punching me right in the cervix (other moms will know about this, but lightning crotch is the worst).

We get home to tell dad about his day, my mind swirling with thoughts of dishes, laundry, bills, and the dreaded dinner-time, while my friends all choose between an evening of self care and resting, or partying and socializing. My night: taking care of others, not myself. How do I do it? I wing it.

The laundry: piled up beyond belief, and also spread throughout the house.

The kitchen sink: filled with dishes, again.

Dinner: hopefully we have something frozen.

My hair: greasy, with a side of dry shampoo.

Energy: completely drained.

Is tonight bath night? I can’t remember, but Max isn’t too sticky so I wipe him down and into pajamas we go. Shower night for me? Forget it, I can make it another day, I do have more dry shampoo in the bathroom… I think. 

I resist the urge to lay my head down anywhere, knowing the slightest recline in body position means I’ll be knocked out in mere minutes. I think of all the things I need to get ready for the next day, but let’s be honest here. I wing it.

When Max is finally asleep, and little miss in my belly decides to snooze off and stop jabbing me, it’s time for the fiancé. While I could easily slip off into sleep, I can’t neglect him. It’s not his fault I’m so completely drained, and he’s done (most) of what he can to help me through my day. So again, I put on another smile and do what I need to do here, enjoying it as we go. 

And finally, without much of a choice, I drift away into deep sleep (minus the pee breaks every 1-2 hours, because I’m 33 weeks pregnant). And finally, I don’t have to wing it. I sleep.

Full time mom, full time nurse, full time wife (fiancé)

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