Schools play an important role in teaching little ones how to maintain good personal hygiene, but encouraging and reminding children to wash their hands after going to the toilet can be a challenging and time-consuming task.
Whilst re-designing a whole new bathroom might be the ideal choice, these eight tips and techniques to help facilities managers support teachers in promoting good personal hygiene to pupils will be much better suited to budget constraints.
1. Make a ‘toilet pass’ from soap
If children in your school require a toilet pass to leave the classroom, turn a standard piece of paper into something which reminds them they need to wash their hands. When they need to carry a bottle of soap back and forth, they’ll easily remember what it’s for!
2. Brighten up walls and mirrors
If you want children to be happy to spend time washing their hands, you should make the school toilets an attractive place to be. Painting inspirational images on the walls, and decorating mirrors with something as simple as coloured duct tape, will help little learners engage with and focus on what they ought to be doing.
3. Make sinks more engaging
Similarly, little touches around the sink will ensure children are eager to stand there and wash their hands. Some stickers, coloured paint or easy-grip rubber covers can change their whole experience and promote good hygiene.
4. Theme your décor
If there’s a certain character, TV show or toy which is popular amongst little ones at the current time, consider adding a poster using them to encourage hand washing in the school bathrooms. For girls’ toilets, for example, you might use a note from a Disney princess as a friendly reminder.
5. Sing a hand-washing song
Teaching children a special song to sing about washing their hands is a great way for them to remember what they should be doing, and encourages them to clean their hands for the appropriate length of time. Consider adding a poster with lyrics next to the sink.
6. Add toys or prizes to soap
Blocks of soap can be bought with little toys or prizes hidden in the centre, or if you’re feeling creative, you can make your own. This is a great way to get children scrubbing their hands, because they’ll need to use up the soap if they want to win the prize!
7. Or mix in some glitter
If you use liquid soap, consider mixing in some glitter to make it more attractive. Again, this will help encourage children to scrub their hands, because they’ll want to use the soap and see what the glitter looks like.
8. Don’t forget a friendly reminder
And of course, a helpful reminder on the door before children leave the bathroom will also prompt them to wash their hands, just in case they have forgotten. Making them could be a classroom art & craft activity, and will help you save money on buying pre-made signs!