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    11 Ways To Spot If Your Kids Have OCD: Hand Washing

    Are your kids washing their hands too much?

    It's the holiday season, and many children are coming back home from school to enjoy their times with the family. But as they spend more and more time with you (their parents or family members), some of you may notice that your kids may washing their hands too often, too long or using too much hand sanitizer. So in this post, I would like to help you identify if your kids have OCD or not when they are spending too much time in the bathroom.

    1. Is there visible substances on your kids’ hands?

    They should only go wash their hands when there are visible substances on your kids' hands like dirt, ink or even blood.

    2. Are they avoiding to wash their hands after using the bathroom or before eat?

    You may not know this, but sometimes avoiding washing hands are actually a sign of OCD. Your kids suffering from OCD may think they may not be able to stop washing their hands. So instead of gamble whether they will stop or not, they just skip it entirely. So look closely see if they are following common sense on hand washing.

    3. Is there a prewash ritual?

    This is sometimes obvious but sometimes hidden. Anyway, a normal hand washing starts with soap. If your kids are doing something that's kinda weird or stopped for a while doing nothing (they maybe doing mental rituals), you should pay some more attention to him/her.

    4. Are they using too much soap?

    One or two pumps of liquids is enough for a normal hand washing. If your kids are using a significantly more amount of the soap, then there may be something going on that needs your attention.

    5. Is the water at the right temperature?

    For a normal hand washing, the temperature of the water should be normal. Not to cold to feel chilly or too hot to irritate the skin.

    6. Is the washing being repeated?

    After the initial rinse, there shouldn't be any repeated washing.

    7. Are they rinsing for too long?

    A normal rinsing stops when there's no visible soap on his/her hands.

    8. Are they doing mental rituals while washing their hands?

    This is a tricky one for you as a parent because this is all going on in your children's mind, something you have no control over. But don't worry, if your kids start to look like their thought are drifting away or they are counting silently, then they are probably doing mental rituals.

    9. Are they scratching their skins or paying attention to individual fingers or nails?

    No skin scratching should happen during a normal hand washing. So is paying attention to individual fingers or nails unless there's visible substance on it, like your children may get paint on their index fingers.

    10. Are they avoiding touching the faucet?

    Here's what's going on in an OCD patients mind, "I can use my hands to open the faucet, but since my hands are dirty while doing that, I also contaminated the faucet. So when closing it, I can't use my clean hands anymore, otherwise they will also get contaminated. So I should use my elbow instead."

    11. Are they washing for too long or too often?

    Finally, are your kids washing their hands for too long or too often? A normal time for a hand washing should last less than 5 minutes. If they are washing for twice or triple amount of the time you wash yours, they may have some issues with hand washing. Or if they just keep going to the bathroom washing hands for no obvious reasons, then you should also pay some extra attention.

    So these are the 11 ways to see if your children are washing their hands in a Obsessive-Compulsive way. If you do notice any of the situations we mentioned above, please make sure they happen multiple times before thinking your kids may have OCD. If you are not sure, message us at OCD Acceptance ( and we will get back to you within an hour to help you identify if it's a ritual or not. And if he/she does have these symptoms, also message us so we can assist you to find the best help and treatment if necessary.

    But anyway, we really hope your children can live mentally well! Thank you so much and have a wonderful holiday!

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