According to Dettol’s Global Hygiene Council’s most recent report,
- Almost half (45%) of Australian primary school children do not always use soap when washing their hands at school*
- More than 1 in 3 (36%) haven’t learned how to wash their hands at school at all*
- Over 1 in 4 (26%) Australian parents and teachers do not know when their children should wash their hands with soap and water*
Australia has a hygiene literacy gap with a dearth of understanding around hand washing; when and how to do it. As schools are opening, it is of utmost importance that we instill simple hygiene habits amongst children, with the classroom being a prime location for passing germs.
So how can we bridge this apparent hygiene literacy gap and better educate our kids on the importance of hand washing?
Research in neuroscience has shown that play enhances children’s development and ability to learn new skills* and with this in mind, play is an incredible tool that can build the cognitive skills of good hygiene habits too, both at home and in school, whilst also giving parents and teachers opportunities to set foundational habits needed as the country and schools open back up.
Notable child psychologist, Dr Kimberley O’Brien recommends that parents and teachers use play and humour to engage children in learning for the best results. When it comes to developing good hygiene habits, bring the lesson outdoors and increase the fun factor with interactive games, messy play, loads of soap, and buckets of water.