What is it about kids and washing hands? Every time one of mine comes out of the bathroom, I ask, "Did you wash your hands?" Then they reply, "Yes," with a shifty expression, and then, when I insist on smelling their chubby little fingers, they roll their eyes and head back into the bathroom.
It's one of the precious family traditions that are the fabric of our rich life tapestry.
But now I have a new strategy to teach my kids how important hand washing is, thanks to a North Carolina teacher and her gross science experiment.
You might like to try it too. All you need are three pieces of bread.
"To all my teacher friends this is the grossest yet coolest experiment. I did this while teaching about germs and how they spread," Donna Allen wrote on her Facebook page.
"You use three pieces of bread," she continued. "You let all the kids see you put a piece of bread in a baggy with a glove on hence 'controlled' then you wash your hands and put a piece of bread in a baggy for "clean" last but definitely not least you pass a piece of bread around and let every kid in class touch it then you put it in a baggy and label it dirty."
Donna shared a picture of the results, with the control and clean pieces remaining pristine, and the dirty piece covered in mould "due to germs".
Disgusting, certainly, but Donna says it's also awesome. "It is so cool and a great way to teach the importance of hand washing."
The picture has been liked over 48,000 times and shared over 72,000 times so clearly this experiment has struck a chord with teachers – and quite a few parents – out there. As for me, I'll be conducting this experiment at home so my children can see first (filthy) hand just how gross their little mitts can get.
And hoping it might make a tiny bit of difference.