Teaching Kids Hygiene Habits to Last a Lifetime

Girl standing in bathroom brushing her teeth
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Their bodies are changing, they're facing puberty, and their skin is breaking out. It's time to teach your growing kids hygiene habits to last a lifetime. Some tweens can be fussy and conscientious about hygiene and cleanliness. Other tweens may need a little encouragement in order to establish healthy habits and routines. Here's how to deal with hygiene and establishing habits for healthy living.

Establish a Routine

The first step to teaching healthy hygiene habits is to establish a working routine.
Your tween needs to bathe or shower everyday, and shampoo at least twice a week. Some tweens may enjoy showering at the end of the day, in order to relax before bed. Other tweens may need to shower in the morning, in order to wake up and face the day. Whatever your tween decides, help her establish a routine, so that showering becomes a habit and part of her daily schedule. Sometimes kids, hygiene and busy schedules don't always cooperate. Be sure to explain to your child that he may need to shower more than once in the course of the day, especially after exercising or taking part in an organized sport.

Demonstrate Good Skin Care Techniques

Remember that your tween doesn't know as much as you do about skin care, so explain what your child needs to do to keep her skin clean and less likely to break out. Show her how to properly wash her face, moisturize if necessary, and use over the counter acne treatments such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.
Be sure you also point out how important a healthy diet, rest, and exercise are to kids, hygiene and overall well being.

Explain Proper Shaving Techniques

Your son may have to wait a few years before shaving becomes necessary, but tween girls may want to begin shaving their legs, or under their arms, before they hit the teen years.
Nobody knows how to shave properly right from the beginning, it takes patience and practice. Consider purchasing a battery-operated shaver, which gets the job done and doesn't require a steady hand like disposal razors do. Your child can get a closer shave with disposable razors once she's more confident and has a better understanding of what she's doing. If your son is ready to shave, the same advice applies. Try a battery-operated shaver first, in order to avoid those nasty razor cuts.

Go Easy on Perfumes

It's easy for tweens to go overboard on colognes or body sprays. Be sure you explain that a little bit goes a long way. Also, help your tween pick out a deodorant stick or anti-perspirant stick that he likes. Tweens are tempted to choose deodorant products with strong scents, but sometimes those products can irritate young skin. Help your child find a product that does the job, without causing skin problems.

Hygiene and Tweens - Make it Fun

Tweens enjoy picking out their own clothes and finding their own style.
The same goes for cosmetics. Make showering fun by taking your tween shopping, allowing her to pick-out her own soaps and shampoos. Be sure to teach her that sometimes the most expensive items aren't necessarily the best. You could even splurge on new towels, washcloths, and bath accessories for your tween. Or, if your child has his own bathroom, you could redecorate or paint his bathroom in his own style.

Make it "My Time"

If your tween associates showering or bathing with relaxing, he's less likely to fuss when it comes time to clean up. Tell your child to use his time in the bathroom to calm down, think about the day, relax, and plan for the week ahead.

Give your Tween Space

Tween's need privacy and can be very self-conscious about their changing bodies. Make sure your tween has the privacy he needs (from you and from siblings) in order to feel comfortable showering and bathing.

Offer Compliments

Compliment your tween when he takes the time to look good. He should know that people notice his efforts, and that personal appearance does matter.

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