Proper hygiene is a must when the family gathers around to celebrate mom.

On Mother's Day, it's only fitting that we take some of mom's time-tested advice: Wash your hands and remember to use soap and water.

As we all know, this frequent ritual is extremely important in stopping the spreading of germs. On Mother's Day, when there's a lot of human interaction and buffet-style food - lots of fingers coming into contact with various food sources - it's doubly important.

Many conscious adults already understand the value of hand-washing but some children need to be constantly reminded to practice proper hygiene.Here are some simple ideas that you can do with your children to help them learn how to wash their hands:
Model hand washing for your young children. Wash hands together to show proper technique. Teach them to sing the "Wash, wash, wash your hands" song (to the tune of "Row, row, row your boat") while washing hands for 20 seconds. Have your child pick out a special hand-washing soap. Help your child reach the sink by placing a stool in front of it for them to stand on when you are with them. Print the wash your hands song sheet. Have your child color it and hang it by the sink.
Children should wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds after using the bathroom, before and after handling food, after playing with pets and after playing with toys inside or outside.

If picnicking, it's best to take a 3-gallon container of water with a spigot to use as your hand-washing faucet. Place it on the edge of the picnic table with a bucket on the ground to catch the dirty water. And don't forget the soap and paper towels, or antibacterial hand-wipes, which are a good alternative.

For additional food-safety questions, call The Ohio State University at 1-800-752-2751 or email at

Gina Nicholson is a food-safety manager for the Columbus Division of the Kroger Co.