Dirty hands, filthy clothes, cuddling puppies, playing with cats, exploring mud, art with colours, moulding with clay, scribbling with chalk, are some of the endearing and grimiest activities which kids do. We cannot stop them since all these help in development of skills.

Getting dirty is a part of growing up. But maintaining hygiene is equally important. My daughter loves playing with cats and dogs. She would caress and embrace the lovable street animal. The moment she does this I have to rush her to a nearby washroom and clean her hands with soap and water. Since children as young as my daughter who is 3, still do not understand the importance of maintaining clean hands. Putting their fingers in the mouth, eating immediately after playing, throwing tantrums to wash hands are some of the annoying habits they display. We have to show extra care, as majority of illness pass through hands and can make the entire family sick. It is imperative to set hygiene standards for the entire family.
Toddlers love to play and write with chalk on slates. They get attracted with the different shades of chalks and the best part is they can easily rub the scribbled with their hands. Imagine your child doing the same and not washing hands with soap and starts eating with the chalked hands!
There are many primary schools in India which still use chalk and slate for writing. Children in their breaks merely wash hands with water and don’t even use soaps.
Savlon in their new CSR activity came up with the brilliant Idea of infusing chalk sticks with cleanser like soap.  How? Watch the video which was launched on Children’s Day 2016: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVWUlWEfJ1k
This gives an advantage to children and parents since they now feel their kids are also secured by germs. Washing hands acts like a natural self-vaccination and medication. It is the best precautionary measure that can be taken to avoid getting attacked by any kind of infections.
Why washing of hands is of prime importance:
1. Germs are everywhere and can cause major illness outbreaks
2. They reside in unknown areas and common ones like the handle of the toilet. In my house, I have made it compulsory to wash hands even if you just touch the handle of the door.
3. When one shakes hands with others, it becomes convenient for the germs to travel. Suppose if you have cold and you do not use a napkin while coughing or sneezing. And you happen to shake hands with a kid. The child unknowingly becomes carrier of virus and might use his hands for eating or playing with his toys which becomes further breeding ground for germs. The viral gets passed on to him and might continue with others.
4. It protects one against viral infections, diarrhea and respiratory illness.
Washing of hands should be encouraged after visiting washroom, before eating, after playing and after sneezing or coughing. I am always behind my daughter to wash hands after playing even if she is at home with toys which are cleaned often. I myself have an OCD of keeping house and ourselves clean. I wash my hands frequently. But mere washing hands with water shall not do away with germs. One needs to wash hands with soap and water. Rubbing hands with soap, in front and back of hands, in between fingers, nails by making enough lather is the right way to wash hands.
Drilling the habit of hand hygiene requires behavioral change. Savlon Swasth India’s ‘Healthy Hands Chalk Sticks’ has highlighted this concept in a unique and innovative way.
Children are the bright future of our nation. They have to be cared and nourished. Inculcating good hygiene habits from childhood will help them shape a healthy & positive personality and will lead to a foundation of healthy society.

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