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DS1 has a real issue with washing hands, I’ve tried every kind of soap going and sometimes he’ll use it, and others, he won’t even get his hands wet, never mind the soap. He’ll tell me he’s not been to the toilet when I know he has. I ask him can his hands pass the smell test, and I know he’s not washed them when he refuses to come anywhere near me, he just says that he doesn’t need to wash his hands. He really does need to wash his hands because he’s very messy using the toilet, he doesn’t have the co-ordination to clean himself easily, and at other times when his hands have been wandering. I want to try and get him to understand why he needs to wash his hands, mainly because he’s saying he doesn’t need to.

Which is where I’m stuck, how do I explain this, he’s 6 but has Autism, DCD (motor control difficulties) and ADHD, so more along the lines of a giant 2 year old. I’ve seen a best behaviour series aimed at toddlers, but I don’t know if there are any books specifically on why we have to wash hands? Any suggestions anyone?

I have no ideas; my DD is nine and we’ve explained about health and germs, but she’s happy to have grubby paws and black fingernails. She says she likes it LOL!

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Thanks, I wouldn’t mind if it was just dirt, it’s just I know what else is on his hands!

Oh dear, we’re in the same camp, DS (5) won’t go near liquid soap, uses a bar of soap very occasionally and screams if you take him anywhere near a hand-dryer!  He is very squeamish about the whole process and I know that he would be labelled with some sort of “sensory” disorder if I took him anywhere near a professional (which I won’t!).  I rely on the fact that he enjoys a bath (usually every other day) and I put lavender essence in the water so hopefully there is some sort of disinfecting going on at that point!  Might your son use wet wipes or a flannel which you have run under warm water with a squeeze of something cleansing on it rather than going for the whole “dunk hands in water” job?

It has been such a struggle for us to get this far, I really feel for you,

Diana

from a waldorf point of view, song singing can often help with things like this. They are so busy singing, they follow through with what ever activity it is associated with the particular song:
“a little soap
a little water
rub and scrub
until the bubbles come”

this isn’t a song as such, but this little rhyme helps my girls because they get busy looking out for the bubbles! I can’t remember where i got this rhyme from….a book i read recently….!

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Notes on a Waldorf inspired family life:
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Thanks, the song idea might work. I know that if I can get him to the sink, he generally washes his hands quite happily, it’s getting him to understand that he needs to do it that’s the problem. He’s very determined when he decides something.

How about alcohol rub? I know it prob not very green but doesnt involve water, and will definately kill off any nasties? xx

The alcohol rub isn’t really any different, he decides he doesn’t need it. We do use it at festivals, but it’s convincing him that he needs to clean his hands that always seems to be the issue. But thanks for the suggestion.

tonkertribe - 30 December 2010 07:32 PM

Thanks, the song idea might work. I know that if I can get him to the sink, he generally washes his hands quite happily, it’s getting him to understand that he needs to do it that’s the problem. He’s very determined when he decides something.

Could you leave a tiny toy that he can wash while he is washing his hands to make him want to go to the sink?

http://www.WishCharms.etsy.com
Sterling Silver Charms hand knotted onto hemp or waxed cotton card and set against beautiful keepsake cards with inspiring quotes and words.

http://www.notonthehightstreet.com/wishcharms

Notes on a Waldorf inspired family life:
http://mamauk.typepad.com

...or i have seen see-through soap with a little figure inside, so he needs to wash his hands regularly to get to the centre?

http://www.WishCharms.etsy.com
Sterling Silver Charms hand knotted onto hemp or waxed cotton card and set against beautiful keepsake cards with inspiring quotes and words.

http://www.notonthehightstreet.com/wishcharms

Notes on a Waldorf inspired family life:
http://mamauk.typepad.com

‘i can cook’ on tv (cbeebies) has a catchy little hand washing song..
roll up your sleeves,
give your hands a wash.
with slippy dippy soap.
splish splash splosh..

i guess you could make up a song about ‘why’ the need to wash..make it funny if that would appeal to him…

mummyk

happy mummy at last to DD born March 2006..and DS born sept 2007..wonderful fabulous gifts. living as green as possible but always striving to be better!home edding and loving it!

LETS no 116

Have to say Zander was lax on the hand washing front until we started attending Steiner P & C groups and they sing a little rhyme and wash in a bowl of warm lavendar oil water (which has antiseptic properties)  Maybe you could add an oil such as Lavendar to water instead.  Lavendar in particular is also calming as well as antiseptic.  Zander started asking for it in his bath after that too.
The rhyme was sung to the ‘Here we go gathering nuts in may’ tune and the words were ...

this is the way we wash our hands,
wash our hands, wash our hands,
this is the way we wash our hands
on a ........ and ......... morning/afternoon/evening (delete as appropriate!)

They provided lovely white flannels to dry hands on as well.  Might be nice to leave a couple on the side by the sink instead of expecting him to use the communal towel - might make it feel a little special.

Maybe you could try something smilar.  I find rituals like this very helpful when the children refuse to do things - such as tidying up as well.

Much love X

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This is a fairly expensive solution, but I chose a hand wash dispenser that I was fairly sure the littlest ones could operate and that was fun to use. I will try to post a link to the one we have, it was italian and looks like a monster/duck

Just for information…........

Alcohol hand rub does not kill a lot of the bugs that cause severe gastric upset (ie Clostridium etc)- only a proper wash with soap and water will remove them. However it is better than nothing at all…........

(Just cos I say that doesn’t mean any of my three are better with their handwashing!!!!!!!!!!)

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Thanks, he’s made up a song called soapy soapy soapy, but he won’t always sing it! Toys are a no, because he’s not interested, he doesn’t play; soap dispensers he takes the lid off and empty’s down the sink. He likes the firm soaps because he squishes them. It’s getting him to understand that he needs to wash them everytime. It’s just so frustrating that I can’t seem to get through to him.

We have had similar problems here…but dd didnt like getting her thumb wet (she sucks her thumb) and will now very carefully wash her hands with soap but keep her thumb dry! Very annoying when its the thumb thats going in her mouth that doesnt get washed and Ive caught her offering her thumb to the dog to share!

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