PARENTING
10/09/2014 03:19 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

23 Tried-And-True Ways To Get Kids To Wash Their Hands

As enterovirus D68, a respiratory virus, is spreading rapidly across the U.S., doctors are urging parents to tell their kids to wash their hands often. And of course, when you have a small child, getting them to do so -- along with many things that are good for them -- is easier said than done.

So, we turned to a group of people we knew would have great tips and tricks to aid in the hand-washing crusade -- the HuffPost Parents Facebook fans. Here are their answers. (Yes, most involve singing). Try them out, and let us know what works for you in the comments below!

(More information about enterovirus D68, here.)

Sing!

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1. Sing the song (to the tune of Frere Jacques): "Top and bottom, top and bottom, in between, in between, rub your hands together, rub your hands together, they're all clean, squeaky clean!" -- Colette Mayfield

2. We sing a song to the tune of "Row Your Boat" ... "wash wash wash your hands, wash them nice and clean. Scrub the fronts and scrub the backs and scrub the in betweens," we sing it twice! -- Kashia Epp

3. My son has to sing the ABC song every time he washes his hands. His name starts with the letter "T" so when he gets to the letter "T" he is allowed to start to rinse. If he sings too fast, he has to rewash. If he leaves the bathroom without washing he is sent right back. -- Amanda Miller

4. We made up a song... Wash the fronts and the backs and in-between, this is the way we get our hands clean. -- Michelle Christeson

5. We make washing hands fun by singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," (but he has to scrub the whole time) and we put in funny words so he laughs a lot (like Twinkle twinkle little pizza). -- Brigid Clingan

6. Sing Happy Birthday twice. --Lisa Ferguson

7. Alphabet song or something seasonal, like Jingle Bells. As for the process, be the example. -- Corley Burnham Hernandez

Get Creative

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8. Put some glitter in a spray bottle and give their hands a spray. They then wash until the glitter us off. -- Megan Conklin

9. MAKE BUBBLES!! That's all it took. -- Josh Patsey

10. We use foaming soap -- works much better than the gel kind with my kids. -- Deborah Gordon Goodrich

11. My daughter learned to blow soap bubbles through her fingers by forming her soapy hands into a circle. Now she spends like a half hour at the sink each time. -- Candy Gill

12. I tell my son that soap (& sanitizer) are alien slime. He loves it. -- Ashlee Breann Copeland-Simcoe

13. Make it a game. Make very animated noises and say things like "SCRUBSCRUBSCRUBBAAAAA" and then make blow dryer noises while drying their hands. Works with my nephews and nieces every time. -- Molly Horner DeCaro

14. I let them make a big water mess, all over the floor and counter and their clothes. Then I make them clean it up too, so they don't make a huge mess every time, but they like cleaning their hands. Seems to work. -- Gwen Valcourt

Give Them A Fun Objective

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15. I buy soaps in fun shapes, right now we have a motorcycle. We sing a fun song about washing hands, helps with scrubbing length too. I used to tell my preschool class boys they were Germ Fighters and it was their job to protect the community from Germs. -- Alissa Morey

16. Fill sink with about an inch or two of soapy water and let them splash and "clean" the sink at first. Hands inevitably get clean. Decrease splashy water over time and eventually just put soap on their hands instead of in the water. They have to scrub hands good first to get good bubbles in the water. Eventually, no splash water. Fun, effective, and a good kind of messy! The cleaning kind. -- Erin N Russell Wiley-Walter

17. Put X marks front and back with a washable marker. It needs to disappear! -- Nancy Robinson Price

Lead By Example And Get Real

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18. I had my kids watch a documentary on parasitic worms. That took care of it. -- Nikki Rippy

19. I've flat out told my son about all the things that can make him sick, and had him put his hands in glitter. He tried to wipe it off with a paper towel, and it didn't take much off. Water alone took more, but not all of it. Soap and scrubbing got it all... That seemed to make it click for him. -- Sorah Stein Devlin

20. We talk about germs then cheer "bye bye germs" as the water goes down the drain. -- Alex Hart Bente

21. Do it with them, every time, until it becomes habit. -- Catherine Taylor

22. I led by example and made it fun by dancing as we washed our hands together. -- Megabeast McDicksonery

23. I introduced it at a young age, and continued to require him to wash his hands after getting messy and using the bathroom. Now, at 3, it's just something he does. -- Morgan Jones

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