It is accustomed not to be careful to wash the hands of children upon awakening, until they reach the age of Chinuch. [However once the child has reached the age of Chinuch one must be careful to educate them to wash hands after awakening in the morning.] (Furthermore one who is careful to wash their hands from the day of the child’s circumcision and onwards is doing an act of holiness.) [Practically Poskim rule that one is to beware to wash a child’s hands in the morning. This applies even if the child is of a very young age such as a nursing baby. Doing so is a good Segula that one’s children grow up with purity and holiness. The Rebbe Rashab wrote that one is to be careful to begin washing child’s hand starting from when the child is no longer in diapers. The Rebbe stated that one is to be careful in washing hands starting at the very least from age three.]
Until the child reaches the age of education there is no obligation to wash the child’s hands, although one who does so starting from the day of the Bris, is doing a holy act. Once the child has reached the age of Chinuch he must wash his hands. [The Rebbe Rashab wrote one is to be careful to wash the hands of the child starting from when the child is out of diapers. The Rebbe stated that one is to be careful in this starting at the very least from age three.]
What is the age of Chinuch regarding the obligation to wash hands?
As already stated it is best to wash the hands of children even before they reach the age of Chinuch. Once the child has reached the age of Chinuch he must be educated to wash hands in the morning. The age of Chinuch in this regard is from when the child begins to understand the concept of washing hands to remove impurity. Every child is different in this regard.
Until the age of Chinuch they do not have to be careful to follow the pre-washing restrictions. [The age of Chinuch in this regard is seemingly from the time they need to begin washing as explained above.] See Halacha 3 Q&A! Nevertheless one who is careful to avoid letting them touch food until they wash is doing an act of holiness, as explained in Halacha 3C.
Must children be careful not to touch their bodily holes?
Until the age of Chinuch children do not have to be careful to avoid doing so.
Advice for child above Chinuch who sucks his thumb: Explain to him the importance of weaning off the sucking and place a sock over his hand, or band aid over his finger, before he goes to sleep. It will only take a few days to break the habit.
Should girls have their hands washed prior to the age of Chinuch just like was said by boys?
Seemingly it is proper to begin washing the hands of girls from the time the name is given. There is room to learn that it is proper to begin washing their hands even beforehand, starting from the day of birth.
Sparks of Kabala
Washing the hands of one’s children even of nursing age is a Segula that they grow up with purity and holiness.
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 Based on Basra 4/2 regarding children touching food as seemingly the intent of Admur there is with regards to washing their hands and not simply to not let them touch food. So also understands Kaf Hachaim 4/22.
 Basra 4/2; So brings also P”M 4 M”Z 7 that the world is not accustomed to be careful to wash the hands of children. He however does not differentiate between whether the child has reached the age of Chinuch or not.
The reason for the leniency: As the G-dly soul only completely and mainly enters into a person when he reaches the age of Bar or Bas Mitzvah, and it is for this reason that when they reach this age they become Biblically obligated to keep the commands, and are punished for transgression. Now the beginning of the entrance of the G-dly soul into a child’s body is from the age that the Sages obligated the child to be educated in Torah and Mitzvos. [Basra ibid; Thus before the age of Chinuch, since the G-dly soul has not even begun to enter their body, this impurity does not desire to seek nurture in their bodies upon them sleeping].
 See previous footnote
 lit. “Kadosh Yomar Lo”
 Parentheses in original
Reason: As in truth the G-dly soul begins to enter into the child’s body from the day of his Bris Milah. [ibid; Thus the evil spirit has reason to reside in his body when sleeping starting from after the Milah.]
 Ben Ish Chaiy Toldos 10; Kaf Hachaim 4/22; P”M 4 M”Z 7: “It is proper to wash their hands every morning as Sakana is more severe than even prohibitions”. Chida in Moreh Baetzba 2/60: “It is proper to wash the hands of the small children properly in order to prevent them from placing impurity on all the items they touch.”
 Ben Ish Chaiy Toldos 10
 Ben Ish Chaiy Toldos 10 in name of Chesed Lialafim 13; Kaf Hachaim 4/22
 The will of the Rebbe Rashab to the general public printed in Ishkavta Direbbe p. 136
 Toras Menachem 7  p. 194
 It is a Rabbinical command for a father to educate his son and daughter in both negative and positive commands, beginning from when the child reaches the age of education. [ibid]
 Ashel Avraham Butchach 4; Piskeiy Teshuvos 4/8; See also Admur Basra 4/2; Divrei Yatziv 1/1; Tzitz Eliezer 21/20; Mishneh Halachos 7/1
 See Ashel Avraham ibid that possibly until the age of Bar Mitzvah one does not have to be careful in the above.
 Vetzaruch Iyun as the age of education differs between positive and negative commands. Washing the hands is considered a positive command while not touching orifices is like a negative command.
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 4/8; See also Admur Basra 4/2; Divrei Yatziv 1/1; Tzitz Eliezer 21/20; Mishneh Halachos 7/1; See Ashel Avraham 4 that possibly until the age of Bar Mitzvah one does not have to be careful in the above.
 Based on Ashel Avraham ibid one may be lenient to allow even children above Chinuch to suck their thumb during sleep. [Piskeiy Teshuvos 4 footnote 105] Nevertheless, as explained in the previous Q&A, it is best to try to wean the child off unless it is a case of need.
 Based on Likkutei Sichos 14 p. 250; Toras Menachem 5750 Vol. 3 p. 364; See Shulchan Menachem 5 p. 158-159 [Shaareiy Halacha Uminhag 3 p. 297] Darkei Chaim Veshalom 219
Admur in Basra 4/2 states that it is proper to begin washing the hands of a child from the time of his Bris being that at that time the G-dly soul begins to enter. No mention is made regarding when the G-dly soul begins to enter a girl and consequently from when it is proper to begin washing the hands of a girl. Chazal state [Avoda Zara 27a] that a girl is considered already circumcised. The intent of this is that the moment a girl is born she is already considered circumcised. [Likkutei Sichos ibid; Igros Kodesh 22 p. 260] Thus the G-dly soul begins to enter a girl as soon as she is born, just as we say regarding a boy on the day of his Bris. Nevertheless perhaps the actual entrance is when she is given a name. [Likkutei Sichos ibid] The reason for this is because the letters of a name is what connects the soul to the body. [Toras Menachem ibid] It is for this reason that we are particular to name a girl at the first opportunity, at the first available Kerias Hatorah, and do not delay it at all as is the custom of others, as who has the right to delay the soul from entering. [Shulchan Menachem ibid; Darkei Chaim Veshalom ibid] From the above it is implied that just like by a boy one begins to wash his hands starting from the day of the Bris, so too by a girl one is to begin washing the hands from the day her name is given, and perhaps even beforehand starting from the day she is born.
 Ben Ish Chaiy Toldos 10 in name of Chesed Lialafim.
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