Health and Hygiene Tips and Habits for Tweens and Teens

Jan 5, 2021

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Health and Hygiene Tips and Habits for Tweens and Teens

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Discuss best practices for parents who are looking to educate their teen on personal care habits, hygiene routine/checklist, and how to lead a healthy lifestyle. Relate back to the importance of using clean products and being eco friendly

Health and Hygiene Tips and Habits for Tweens and Teens

Welcome to your child’s adolescence! It’s sure to be a wild ride. Your child is starting to take control over more aspects of their life—and hygiene is a big one. Now is the best time to use your parental influence to build good habits.

First thing’s first: proper health and hygiene is self-care. Everyone deserves the knowledge and tools to help take care of themselves. 

But, how do you encourage self care for teens and tweens when they may see things like showering and brushing their teeth as a thankless chore? 

We’re going to discuss the tools you need to talk about self-care with your tween or teen today, including: 

  • How to have the hygiene conversation
  • The healthy habits your child should know
  • How to encourage those habits

How to Talk to Your Child About Health and Hygiene 

When it comes to a subject as personal as hygiene, you want to make the conversation as open and honest as possible. You can do this by:

  • Starting early – Pediatrician Tanya Remer Altmann recommends that parents start the conversation with their children about hygiene as early as 10-years-old.
  • Avoiding assumptions – As your child enters adolescence, independence will be at the forefront of their developing brains. That means they may be less willing to look to their parents for their advice.

    Tackle this head-on by asking what they’ve already learned in school or from other sources. This will signal to them that they have an equal part in the conversation. Hopefully, they will appreciate that you respected their knowledge and have more open ears. So, don’t assume they don’t know anything, but don’t trust that they know it all either.
  • Making it a responsibility – By now, your child has some regular responsibilities you hold them accountable for, like homework, a curfew, and maybe some household chores. Position hygiene as a daily responsibility that’s just as important as feeding the family dog or turning in book reports on time. 

If they resist, don’t beg, or nag. If you do, hygiene becomes something you’re trying to make your child do (and as you probably know, that can make things so much worse). So, level with them. Frame the discussion around hygiene as a normal part of life that they’re expected to do, and if they don’t, it can be bad for their health.

Healthy Habits to Encourage 

Puberty does a number on our bodies. Your teenager may sweat more, experience oiler skin, and encounter more body odor. Help your teenager understand that their self-care hygiene routine can help with these changes, improve their confidence, and promote positive mental health.

Personal Hygiene for Tweens

As tweens are beginning to take care of their own bodies, here’s a list of things they should know:

  • Brushing and flossing – Dental hygiene is an important habit for your child to build early. So, stress to your child that brushing twice a day, is important to not just their breath, but their health. Tooth decay is no joke, and if they want to keep those pearly whites, well, white, they should brush their teeth for two minutes twice a day and floss once a day.

 

  • Daily showering, hair washing, and deodorant – Puberty puts the body’s natural processes into overdrive—growth spurts, hormones, and of course, body odor. Hopefully, your hygiene talk wasn’t inspired by a whiff of B.O., but even if it was, this is the perfect time to mention that daily showers, deodorant, and regular hair washing are crucial.
     
  • Preventing acne – Acne is totally normal for kids entering adolescence. Their hormones are running rampant, which means their oil production is too. So, if your child is struggling with acne, they’re probably a) horrified and b) confused about what’s going on.

    Let your children know that there is nothing wrong with them (if you have any pictures of your acne-ridden teenage years, now’s the time to pull out the album). Assure them that acne doesn’t mean they’re ugly or dirty and that there is a way to clearer skin. Skincare can make a big difference in preventing acne by clearing away pore-clogging sweat and oil. 

Getting your tween in the habit of doing basic skin hygiene like washing and moisturizing their face daily is essential, but it’s also key to teach them proper skincare techniques, including:

  • Washing their hands – Make sure your tween washes their hands before washing their face.
  • Washing gently – Vigorous scrubbing won’t prevent acne. It just dries out the skin and can further exacerbate breakouts. 
  • Avoid touching the face – Your tween may not know that their habit of touching their face can lead to more pimples.

Personal Hygiene for Teens

The teenage years are when you want to talk to your child about these important hygiene habits and self care activities: 

  • Skincare – It’s never too late to start taking good care of your skin! It may have been an uphill battle to get a tween to simply wash their face daily, but an older and wiser teen (hopefully!) understands that skincare is incredibly important and even fun. So, if you’re looking to encourage your teen to step up their skincare, here are the basic things they’ll need:
  • An effective cleanser – Honest’s Clearing Cleanser is a cleanser geared toward preventing acne, making it a perfect choice for tweens and teens.
  • A gentle moisturizer – Let your teen know that it’s important to prevent dryness by always moisturizing after cleansing.
  • Skin treats – Nourish your teens’ skin with a purifying detox mask and a brightening vitamin C serum.
  • Daily sun protection – Applying sunscreen every day is one of the most important skincare habits your child can start. Point them to a nourishing CC cream with SPF 30—it can protect your child’s skin from UV rays, help cover up blemishes without clogging pores, and even adds a layer of moisture to your child’s skin. 
  • Shaving correctly – Shaving may seem simple if you’ve done it for years, but have you ever really thought of how much goes into shaving? Here are some important things to mention to your teen before they go to town on their body hair:
  • Lather on shaving cream first
  • Use sharp razors
  • Move slowly
  • Moisturize after shaving

You may also want to have a conversation with your child about why they may or may not want to shave. Is it worth nicking some potentially sensitive areas for baby smooth skin? It’s ultimately their decision, but they may be comforted to know that not shaving is an option too. 

  • Changing clothes – Don’t be surprised if the source of your teen’s B.O. is their three-day-old gym shirt. Talk to your teen about changing their clothes and underwear daily and washing their clothes well before they run out of underwear.

Health

Self-care isn’t just about how you look (and smell) on the outside. Your child’s self-care should also include internal wellness, including: 

  • Nourishing diet – If your child had it their way, their primary food groups might be cheesy puffs, cereal, potato chips, and soda. But, since you’re still in the driver’s seat of what they eat, encouraging healthy food depends a lot on what you make available to them. Fill the fridge with whole grains, lean proteins, and colorful fruits and veggies, so your child has every opportunity to choose nourishing meals and snacks.
     
  • Exercise – When it comes to physical activity, running a mile because your mom told you to may feel less like self-care and more like torture. Try to follow your kid’s lead on their physical health by introducing sports, yoga, dance—whatever gets the blood pumping—and supporting whatever activity they enjoy the most.

    That could mean complimenting their abilities, attending their sports games, or letting them teach you a dance routine; any positive reinforcement from you can play a big role in making physical activity a habit.
  • Mental health – Regular hygiene can be incredibly important for a child’s mental health and confidence. Make sure that even with school and obligations, your child makes time to care for themselves. That means time spent with friends and family, hobbies they love, or whatever helps your child feel their best. 
  • Being product-conscious – Feeling good about what’s in your hygiene products is a huge part of self-care. Your child might not be keen on reading ingredients lists, but you can still introduce them to brands, like Honest Company, that are committed to making clean products with a high standard of safety. As a parent it’s important to know the ingredients to avoid in skincare.

How to Make Sure it Actually Gets Done

By now you may be wondering, “Ok I’ve talked to my kid about health and hygiene, but how do I make sure they actually do it?!” Here are some methods to nudge them in the right direction:

  • Equip them with the right products – Try buying the hygiene products you trust and leaving them in the bathroom. Your kid might use them simply because they’re there. If you’re buying your own hygiene products and have a sneaking suspicion that your teen has been neglecting to tell you that they need a refill, you’re probably right. Throw some backups in your cart just in case. 

Another thing you can do to make sure they stay fresh on the go is buying travel sizes of deodorant, hand sanitizer, and moisturizer that they can carry in their backpack.

  • Keep an eye on things – Ask them periodically if they’ve made time for their self-care (which sounds a lot more pleasant than “why haven’t you showered today?”). If they seem overwhelmed or confused, maybe they need a personal hygiene checklist, or they just need to have an open conversation with you.

It’s a Team Effort

Your child is going through changes in their body and routine that can be confusing and overwhelming, so be patient with them as they spend more time in the bathroom than ever or forget to put on deodorant. They’ll get the hang of it, and these habits will support their health and hygiene for years to come. 

Sources: 

Web MD. Teen Hygiene Tips. https://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/teen-hygiene#1

Raising Children. Hygiene: Pre-Teens and Teenagers. https://raisingchildren.net.au/pre-teens/healthy-lifestyle/hygiene-dental-care/hygiene-pre-teens-teens

Kids Health. Can I Prevent Acne? https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/prevent-acne.html#:~:text=Acne%20is%20caused%20by%20overactive,get%20acne%20in%20their%20teens