When thinking of teaching life skills, it can be easy to let your mind wander to activities like cooking, cleaning, or even changing tires. One vital life skill to teach, however, can be about self-care. While it can be easy to remember to teach about washing their hands after the bathroom and covering their noses when they sneeze when children are young, self-care issues definitely don’t end when those early elementary years are over.
As a Mom to three children — two being preteen boys — this is an issue that has definitely become prevalent at our house. I have to admit that it just kind of snuck up on me. One day, while we were all snuggled nicely on the couch sharing a read aloud, I suddenly caught a smell of something that made me say, “Ummm…did somebody not take a shower?” In an action only a mother would take, I started smelling all of the children. I was shocked (and, admittedly, kind of horrified) when I caught the underarm smell of my son (who was nine at the time) when he moved his arm. I must admit that I even then told him to smell himself so he would smell what we were smelling. (He was pretty shocked too.)
After sending him off to shower (for the second time that day), we had to have a whole new personal care discussion — personal hygiene and deodorant.
I found that this wasn’t a one-time discussion. Just like remembering to brush their teeth in the morning was something that they learned over time, showering daily (or sometimes every other day) and putting on deodorant daily was definitely something that needed lots of reminders before it became more of a routine. It also helped, in our family, to set deodorant out on the counter (with their names on their own) of the bathroom that they typically use. This, coupled with a verbal reminder, helped us get to the point where we didn’t have to remind them anymore.
Resources for Teaching about Personal Hygiene:
- Don’t Fret The Sweat Facebook page – A Facebook page from Unilever’s Don’t Fret The Sweat campaign (Unilever is the maker of of Degree® Men, Degree® Woman, Degree® Girl, Dove®, and Suave®) with educational resources, real-life stories, expert tips and tools
- Games to Teach Kids about Personal Hygiene – Games about hand washing, good and bad habits, and germs
- How to Teach Personal Hygiene to Teens – Great starting points for teaching teens about good hygiene habits
- GirlsHealth.gov – A whole website for girls and health topics
What have you done to teach your children about personal hygiene (whether it’s hand washing or underarm odor)?
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