Cleanliness is not something we know how to do. It is something that is taught. Most of the time we learn by example of the people around us. Sometimes though our teenagers aren’t always so keen to follow in example. When children go through puberty it is a very different time all around for them. As kids when they could run around outside all day long and never smell at all, they now just wake up sometimes and have an odor to them. They went from having to bathe a couple times a week, to needing to shower daily or even every other day. Sometimes teens aren’t even aware that they are needing to increase their cleanliness routine. As our jobs as parents it’s to help them with this transition so they have good cleanliness.
Your child may ask you why is it important to be clean? Their bad breath isn’t bothering them, and their sweaty stinky sweatshirt they have worn all week smells just fine to them. It’s important to remind our children it is socially acceptable to be clean. Society holds a standard of what is good hygiene and cleanliness. Good hygiene also helps us fight away unwanted germs that can live under our fingernails or on our skin. Being clean and dressed nicely can also help improve personality, as well as make you feel more motivated. Cleanliness has the ability to help boost one’s confidence as well.
There still may be resistance after you lay out all the positives of cleanliness to your child. It may be good to take a step back and make sure the fight your child is putting up is worth it, or if it’s not a hill to die on. Meaning if your child doesn’t want to shower every day, they want to shower every other day. You assess this. Do they seem relatively clean after a full day without showering? Is their hair clean? Do they smell? If they seem relatively clean, their hair isn’t a grease slide and with the use of deodorant, or antiperspirant they smell clean then maybe agree on a schedule that everyone is happy with.
To help with some of the resistance it is important to talk with your child about what is expected of good hygiene and cleanliness. They aren’t born knowing how to clean themself. They need to be taught. A good straight forward conversation is always a good way to start. Make sure they are a captive audience, so when you are in the car and distractions are few is a good way to achieve this. You can start by figuring out what your teen needs. Do they have oily skin, dry skin, oily hair, flaky scalp, smelly after exertion of energy? After you figure this out you can set some standards as to what they should do and what you expect from them. When you are discussing this with them do not be surprised when they say something like, well my best friend doesn’t have to do that why do I? Just because a friend does a certain hygiene regime does not mean it works for them. Everyone is different, and everyone’s body is different as to what they need. If your teen still won’t listen to you and their hygiene is causing problems that are negative to your teen, talk with your pediatrician, or find a respected adult that your teen will listen too.
Good hygiene looks different for everyone since everyone is different. But most of the time you will want to shower daily, or every other day. Wash your hair daily or every other day. Clean your body, whether this is in the shower or at the sink if you shower every other day. Wash your face, some people will need to do this two times a day, others with super dry skin may find cleansing is more appropriate just once a day. Brush teeth two times a day and floss. Use deodorant or antiperspirant. Make sure you know the difference. Deodorant protects from odor, while an antiperspirant helps control sweat as well as protects from odor. Make sure to wear clean socks and underwear daily, or just clean clothes in general.
Most of the time your teen won’t want to smell. Try not to nag though because it can deter them even more from wanting to follow your commands. If they let their hygiene go, don’t let it get to the point where children start to tease them. This is not a helpful solution to get them back on course with their cleanliness. It can lead to worse things like low self esteem, being bullied, or social isolation. Remind them of the positive things that keeping their body clean can do. Brushing their teeth can help get rid of tooth decay and bad breath, meaning no scary dental visits. Washing hair daily can help reduce breakouts. Trimming their nails and keeping them clean can prevent ingrown nails which sometimes have to be surgically fixed, and it also decreases the amount of germs that can live under your nails.
Try and start while your child is young so the routine is already in place and it just becomes a habit to them. Don’t be discouraged if you get some resistance. Find a plan and routine that works for everyone. Most kids want to have good hygiene, smell nice, and look presentable. Be a positive role model showing them how you manage your cleanliness as well as remember to teach them, they aren’t born with skills of cleanliness.
Poor teen hygiene can lead to low self esteem, being bullied, or social isolation. Find tips to change things here! #HealthStatus
To help with some of the resistance it is important to talk with your child about what is expected of good hygiene and cleanliness. They aren’t born knowing how to clean themself. They need to be taught. A good straight forward conversation is always a good way to start.
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