There is a whole lot of hand-washing going on around here and it's a good thing! I've learnt that toddlers need to be standing up themselves to wash their hands adequately, you can't be holding them up. When you get home from being out (during this pandemic) you, the adult caregiver, need to help the toddler wash their hands. You need to make sure they use enough soap and wash for at least 20 seconds. See my recent study here. During the pandemic we've been using more liquid soap as I find it to be more effective (than bar soap) and easier for the children to lather up, have you found the same? A little nail brush can be helpful too.
But where do toddlers wash their hands? Do you need a toddler wash basin or care-of-self station? Toddlers need a place that they can wash their hands and there are many options that suit different homes and budgets.
But time for a reality check:
Would I love a toddler sized basin? Yes!
Do I have room for one? No, maybe?
Can I make do with what I have? Yes!
In the UK we had one bathroom which was tiny, our basin on the bath (UK link) worked for toddler hand washing, we used a small step for our toddler to reach it until he was around two. We had a kitchen helper in the kitchen and tap extenders on the taps so our toddler could use this for hand washing at the kitchen sink.
Here in Australia, our home is larger and we have two bathrooms. We have the kitchen helper at the kitchen sink for hand washing but also importantly for getting a drink and filling the watering can. We have an Ikea step stool in the ensuite bathroom that my toddler (at 2.5yrs) can use with ease and use the flip-style taps to wash his hands. His potty is also in the ensuite. Our home is split on four levels and we have toddler accessible hand-washing on levels 2 and 4. It works and once the toddler knows how to reach, use to use the soap, taps and, towels, they get used to and so familiar with the hand-washing practice that it becomes automatic.
- Kids Wash Basin Stand (US)
- Super Sustainable Sink (US)
- Pitcher and Basin (UK here). M.Vita also ship to Australia. (We have this in blue).
- Basin for the Bath - this one is the Kiddy wash in the EU, in the UK there is also the Baby Splash Wash.
- Example of the Pitcher and Basin - this is from M.Vita.
- Hand washing Station - this one is by Sprout. In the EU look at the Manine Montessori wash stand.
Role modelling hand-washing has been critical for us, my toddler washes his hands better, for longer and with more soap, when he is washing his hands at the same time as one of his brothers, they make it fun. When he washes his hands by himself he does it as quick as possible. Remember to make sure they dry their hands well too!
Note I set up a toddler size hand wash basin outside if we are using a lot of clay or painting. It's nice to use some warm water in colder months, I also add some soap to the water so it's already a little soapy, it saves the children going inside a lot with really wet or paint covered hands.
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