How I Stopped Nagging My Toddler to Wash His Hands

  Back in November I talked about our adventures in potty training G.  At that point I was in the trenches.  The only thing that mattered was that G went in the potty.  I’d tear off the toilet paper, heck, I’d wipe for him and I’d wash his hands and dry them.  As long as there was no excrement outside of the potty, it was a win.

  Folks who are in the trenches, I know you don’t want to hear this (and please, for the sake of your sanity, don’t worry about it too much), but that was just the tip of the iceberg.
  With 2.0 on his way soon, soon, soon, we’ve been doing everything we can to get G as self sufficient as possible.  That meant making sure he could do the whole potty routine on his own.  We’ve worked with him to make sure he can reach the toilet paper, can handle whatever pair of pants the day throws at him and is generally comfortable with all the operations of the toilet and sink themselves.  Problem was, his idea of hand washing and my idea of hand washing…not quite the same.
  He sees hand washing as yet another annoying step in something that is keeping him from getting back to his playing.  I see it as the only thing standing between my pregnant self and a massive e coli infestation that his tiny hands spread all over my house.
  I hovered like crazy.  “You need to wash for longer.”  “Please scrub the fronts and the backs.”  “You need to use SOAP!” …I sounded like a broken record, and it wasn’t getting me anywhere.
  So I decided to tap into G’s love of song.
  Now every time he hops up on the stool to wash his hands, we sing the alphabet song.  We start once the water is on and his hands are in.  I remind him to get soap around the letter G.  After S I remind him to do the backs.  He rinses while we sing “now I know my ABCs, next time won’t you sing with me” and then he can turn the water off.
  No more arguments and no more shoddy hand washing.
  Ahhhh.  Now if I could only figure out a solution that’s as easy for getting him to stop stalling when it’s time for bed…

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