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How do you teach a pre-teen about personal hygine?

I am suddenly in custody of a 9 year old girl. She never brushes her hair or teeth and at her age she needs to start learning about body odor control. How can I teach her and help her get into the habits she never created as a child? All without embarrassing her?

Answer Question

Asked by lmt_mom2010 at 6:38 AM on Apr. 15, 2011 in General Parenting

Level 17 (3,325 Credits)
Answers (11)
  • With love. Set a routine for her. Daily baths, Brush your teeth after breakfast and before you go to bed. Wash your hair 2 or 3 times a week depending on her hair. She is still young enough for you to be helping her with her nails. Talk to her about why you do this. There are books to teach about hygiene for girls this age. Take her to the dentist and the hygenist will talk to her about brushing and flossing. Give her a laundry basket and tell her that she needs to put her clothes in it after taking them off each day. Be sure that she has enough underwear so that they can be changed daily.

    Answer by tootoobusy at 6:48 AM on Apr. 15, 2011

  • It sounds like you might have to embarrass her. I would have a talk with her about personal hygiene. If she did not do it herself I would make her do it, by force if I had too.  Teaching is difficult sometimes.


    Answer by louise2 at 6:55 AM on Apr. 15, 2011

  • Should I try to help her track her progress? Checklist or sticker chart? Reward system? Or is this all inappropriate for a 9 year old?

    Comment by lmt_mom2010 (original poster) at 7:10 AM on Apr. 15, 2011

  • U must tell her..

    Answer by smiley745 at 8:01 AM on Apr. 15, 2011

  • American Girl has a great collection of books called All About You.  I got this for my DD who turned 9 in November.  My DD is starting to go through puberty and it is a great book to read together.  I don't think embarrassing her would be the way to go since you just started taking care of her and there might be trust issues.  I think you need to talk with her and build that trust  Show her the correct ways to do things and take time to teach her.

    I know it is hard although it is going to take some time.  I know the books really helped my DD because while she brushed her teeth every day and her hair the book talks about your body and the different changes as well as emotions.

    Good Luck!


    Answer by cornflakegirl3 at 8:02 AM on Apr. 15, 2011

  • please don't do any charts.. just ask her if she remembered to brush her teeth before school and before bed... offer to brush her hair or get her a hair cut to see if that helps.

    Answer by zoejains_momma at 8:10 AM on Apr. 15, 2011

  • Cornflakegirl,
    I love your suggestion of the American Girl book

    Answer by tootoobusy at 8:29 AM on Apr. 15, 2011

  • I agree there is no need for any chart. Show her how everything is done. Be there with her for the guidance to get her started and also if she is resisitive to continue on her own. Make doing her hair fun for the two of you. Maybe pretty clips or elastics etc if she is interested. I love brushing my niece's hair. You can talk about deodorants and go look at them together. Explain how she is to bath or shower. Be with her if she needs you. GL

    Answer by elizabr at 8:30 AM on Apr. 15, 2011

  • You could make a chart that lists all the things she needs to do before school and another before bed, but I wouldn't do any type of reward chart with her.

    I don't think she'll be too embarrassed because she just didn't know. She will probably be grateful that someone is showing her what to do. My 8 year old has been having stinky arm pits recently, so I just plainly said to her "you are going to have to start using deodorant". She said "what's that?" I said "it keeps your armpits from stinking". Then I got her some deodorant and showed her how to use it. It was all very matter of fact and she was fine with it. But I still have to remind her to brush her hair (or I do it) and to brush her teeth. When she's in the shower I remind her to wash real good.

    Answer by slw123 at 8:32 AM on Apr. 15, 2011

  • Set the routine. A time for a bath/shower and toothbrushing (is it tooth or teeth???) :) My niece has hair that 2 minutes after you brush it it looks UNbrushed. I suggested to her momma to thin it out and keep trimmed.


    Answer by brypmom at 9:15 AM on Apr. 15, 2011

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