5 Ways Little Kids Wash Their Hands

January 13, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF

5 ways little kids wash their hands

They don’t call this the dead of winter for nothing. Bitter cold. No sunshine. Cooped-up kids tearing the house apart as you slowly tear out your hair. No new episodes of The Walking Dead  for nearly a month.

And the sickness – the never ending cycle of sickness.

Mid-winter is always rough for families with kids, and this year has been particularly infectious. Aside from getting a flu shot, the most effective way to prevent illness is to wash your hands. Every doctor, childcare professional, teacher, parent, and educational Muppet has been drilling this into your kids’ heads since birth. And yet, based on personal experience of how regularly my child practices responsible (unassisted) hygiene, it’s a wonder we’re not in the midst of a full-blown toddler zombie apocalypse. Here are five reasons why…


Your child has peed & pooped on their own (Yay!), but is still perfecting his wiping technique (Booo!), and has a single-minded goal: to race back and finish his game of LEGO Star Wars on your iPad.
Washing Method:
Doesn’t flush, doesn’t wash, has to be told multiple times to do so (after he’s already got your iPad in his grubby hands). Dragged back into the bathroom and watched so he doesn’t just stand in there and pretend he did. Barely runs his hands under the water, so you make him use soap. Uses only a little, so you make him use more. Just squirts it on his hands, doesn’t lather, so you make him lather. Rinses and dries hands quickly, towel falls in toilet.
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Washing Method:
So thorough, so deliberate, it’s like she’s prepping for surgery. Or perhaps procrastinating going to bed. And driving her parents insane. Also part of her regimen: 14 individual sips of water, 2 stories she needs to tell you while at the sink, 7 tricks she wants to show you on her steppy stool, 4 attempts to hang off the doorknob like a chimpanzee, 1 more time to pee, and then of course more hand-washing.
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A nice restaurant.
Washing Method:
Splashing. EVERYWHERE.
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Emergency stop at a gas station bathroom.
Washing Method:
Touches every surface he can reach during the toilet-using process. Plays with gum stuck to stall door. Picks up lollipop he set on the empty toilet paper dispenser while peeing, puts back in mouth. Removes lollipop, places on edge of sink while trying to wash hands. Can’t quite reach the faucet, so stands on his tiptoes, accidentally putting his mouth on sink. You pick him up to help him reach the faucet only to find out the water doesn’t work (or comes out non-water colored). This, after your child has already covered his hands with sticky, pink soap (which of course he could reach). Hand drier is broken. No paper towels or toilet paper anywhere. Only option is a cloth towel dispenser from the late 70s that looks like it was most recently used by a serial killer. Buy bottled water, pour it over his hands, air dry out the window as you haul ass out of there.
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Grandma’s house; at school; with a sitter. Basically, anytime you’re not there.
Washing Method:

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Are any of these scenarios familiar to you?
If you’ve ever been a parent, they should be. If they’re not, you’re a lying zombie sympathizer. And if you’re planning on becoming a parent, you should probably start saving up for a HAZMAT suit.

Feel free to share your own hygiene horror stories in the comments. As the old saying goes, contamination loves company.

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After you’ve thoroughly washed your hands with soap and water, stop by the Designer Daddy page on Facebook for even more tales of parental wit, wonder and woe.

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10 responses to “5 Ways Little Kids Wash Their Hands”

  1. neal says:

    Sometimes I think there could be a book, “Everything I need to know I learned from my parents trying to get me to wash my hands.”

    But . . . since my kid can’t read, it wouldn’t really help anyone in the short term.

    • Brent Almond says:

      No, I guess not. But maybe someone can invent a speaker that automatically reminds your kids to flush and wash their hands. Maybe it’s activated when something lands in the bowl. 🙂

  2. #4 makes me totally insane now that I have a 2-year-old who always wants to join our public bathroom excursions. Yesterday he put his face on one of the urinal divider extenders at Costco and I almost threw up.

    • Brent Almond says:

      LOL. And also Yikes. Can you squirt Purel in their mouths?

      • Adge says:

        Hysterical but I did find a sanitizer that you spray on your face should someone cough or sneeze in your vicinity. It was at CVS. Unfortunately it was expired and they wouldn’t sell it to me! I’ve never seen anything like it since.

  3. Larry says:

    For my boys, they are stuck on number one.Luckily, they flush – usually. I’ve bugged them enough to get them to do that. Yet, they can’t get out of the bathroom fast enough.

    • Brent Almond says:

      How old are they? Jon used to LOVE to flush. Loved the novelty of it, the noise, the saying “bye” to the pee. Now it’s lost its appeal and he can’t be bothered much of the time.

  4. Steve Grams says:

    If I timed my kids making their mad dash from using the toilet without a flush or wash they’d be 1st round NFL draft type numbers, except at stall time. It’s too hot in the house, I want shorts for PJ’s, nope I’m cold, need the other ones, now a drink, a band-aid, cough medicine for my fake cough and on. I laughed super hard reading these, awesome read Brent

  5. Ktmomto3 says:

    yesssssss!! #4!!!!!! I still get flashbacks of my solo road trip to Vegas with a snarky 7 yr old and two toddlers!!!! Ahhhhhh!! (( even though I’ve always carried wipies in car- that ONE trip we had run out and I figured they were well trained, prepped! On the cusp of Big Kid abilities!! Oh how wrong I was!! Oh how humbled the fates made me…my eye still twitches thinking about it these 8 yrs later…

  6. April says:

    OR-just finished a dirt making activity. Whatever you imagine is probably accurate. Mud pies, finger painting, really anything filthy. No matter which sink you try to herd them to, they will run their dirty little fingers across the wall.

    You set them up at the sink while you go try to scrub finger paint off the wall before it stains. By the time you get back, your kid is drying his hands on a white towel. The hands that he barely rinsed under the water. He uses the towel to scrub the rest of the paint off of his hands.

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