Up until recently, you’ve likely been the reason for your son’s healthy gums, pleasant scent and shiny hair. Now, as a teen or pre-teen, you’re realizing the “helicopter mom” (or dad) look isn’t actually doing him any favors and it’s time to make sure he’s handling his own hygiene.
Not only is kids’ health and hygiene paramount to their wellbeing, but also to their independence and confidence. So think of this as the ABC’s of growing up well, a head-to-toe personal hygiene checklist for kids, the we-can’t-brush-your-teeth-for-you handbook to help your son stay squeaky clean. We thought the ABC-approach would harken back to a simpler time of board books and bubble baths to remind you that this is yet another challenge of childhood, but feel free to use whatever device or method it takes to get him onboard. No judgement.
At this age, skincare may be one of the top concerns of good hygiene practices for kids and their parents. Since acne has never been a stealthy symptom, it may also be the best way to get through to a thick-headed son to teach him about the importance of prioritizing personal hygiene.
As puberty nears, skin becomes naturally oilier. That’s not his fault, tell him that! However, ignoring the change will certainly be his blunder. Make sure he’s equipped with a gentle face wash like PrepU Charcoal Face &Body Scrub which is packed with all-natural ingredients, including activated charcoal which draws out acne-causing bacteria and dirt, and no parabens, sulfates or other pore-clogging chemicals. Plus, this scrub does double duty working on his whole body, including his back and shoulders where bacne can creep up. He should wash his face twice daily to help prevent blemishes caused by excess oil, sweat and dirt. If he’s an athlete, sweating more than the average kid, and not always able to reach for his handy, dandy face cleanser, teaching him to at least rinse his face with soap and water after practice isn’t the worst hygiene tip. Something is better than nothing.
You may also want to remind him that diet affects the appearance of skin, too, so he should take it easy on the greasy fast food. Lots of water and gut-cleansing foods like dark, leafy greens (his favorites, we’re sure) can do wonders for clear skin. And for the love of all things holy, teach him to NOT touch or pick his face, especially if he does have acne. It will only lead to more dirt in his pores and worse, scarring.
Since proper oral hygiene can be challenging at every age (did YOU floss today?), we thought we’d give you a two-for-one here in hopes that the buddy system might encourage positive results in the personal hygiene department. After all, getting him to bathe every day should be the easy part, right? Wrong.
We’re not exactly sure why boys have such a hard time with this concept, but we do know that the results can be gnarly. Teaching him that showering (or bathing) daily may seem like personal hygiene 101, but for the average device-wielding pre-teen or teen, taking time to clean feels like a personal afront to his own time-management system. Or, if he does manage a daily cleansing, there’s no telling if anything is actually getting clean in there.
Making sure he has all the products he needs to get the job done quickly and effectively is key when it comes to any hygiene tips for kids, but it’s especially successful for showering. We suggest an all-natural, paraben and sulfate-free two-in-one shampoo and conditioner because, well, quick and effective. Again, two-in-one face and body scrub is another time-saver, or if he’s the deliberate type, we have PrepU Body Wash and a Charcoal Soap Bar to boot.
While there’s really no shortcut to oral health, you can apply the same theories as bathing to encourage hygiene basics. Arming him with a power brush will deliver better results, faster, and don’t forget the multi-benefit toothpaste, rinse and floss. If he seems interested, let him come with you to pick out his own products as it might make him feel more involved in the outcome. Before dumping a bunch of products on him, however, make sure he actually knows HOW to use them (has the dentist ever showed him how to floss properly?) and why brushing twice a day and flossing regularly is part of good hygiene practices for kids.
Everyone “knows” you should cover your mouth when you cough and your nose when you sneeze, and still, kids of ALL ages can be caught coughing into the wind and spraying sneezes into the air (we’re looking at you, adults who know better). So go on and file this under hygiene tips for kids, but feel free to pass along your wisdom to the grownups in your life, too: show him how to sneeze and cough into his elbow. While it’s a nice gesture to cover his mouth and nose with his hand, he’s really just gifting his germs to the next poor sap who touches the same surface he did. Let’s get back to the hygiene basics and promote the elbow for all ages.
A key component in the kids’ health and hygiene handbook, his application of deodorant should start as soon as he starts to stink. Whenever that time comes, turn to an all-natural, aluminum-free natural deodorant or charcoal deodorant which helps draw out the bacteria that causes odor. You can learn more about the difference between the two options here and all the benefits of natural deodorant here.
He should know that applying and re-applying is totally fine, especially when you’re using only natural ingredients, and that keeping a spare stick in his locker or backpack can be a lifesaver. If he’s an athlete with a tendency to sweat in more places than just his underarms, you may want to toss our Active Dry Powder into his gym bag to keep odors at bay and all his sweaty parts dry (chaffing is real).
Whether you’re teaching personal hygiene to elementary students or an all-knowing high-schooler, there are a few essentials you’ll want to add to this list.
Wash your hands after going to the bathroom: This seems like another tough concept for some adults, so if you can instill it early and often, the rest of the world will thank you. He needs to understand that “washing” his hands means moving soap around his fingers and hands for 20 seconds to kill bacteria and germs. Rinsing with just water or applying soap just long enough to get the lilac scent to stick DOES NOT COUNT.
Grooming: Sure, hair styling is nice and if your son is already into certain products, have at it. But when it comes to personal hygiene, we’re talking clipping his nails and getting dirt out from underneath them, shaving (if and when he’s ready for it), cleaning in and behind his ears, washing his feet when they’re sweaty and stinky, you name it! Grooming is less about getting ready for the school dance and more about maintaining healthy standards for himself.The road may be long, but the path to good hygiene practices for kids is paved. In addition to some of the products we’ve mentioned here, we even have a Strtr Pack to help get you both off on the right foot. Stick with it parents, you’ve got this.