How do I get my 10-year-old daughter to be serious about personal hygiene?

My daughter is 10 1/2. I have explained to her the importance of personal hygiene but I find that unless I'm constantly checking up on her she does not brush or bathe well, and getting her to wear deodorant and keep her hair brushed is like pulling teeth. I've tried explaining to her that her body is creating new smells at this age, and tried coaxing her from an appearance standpoint since she is becoming increasingly concerned with her looks. I don't like to go too much into appearance though, as I try to walk a fine line between being concerned with what others think versus being the best she can be to please herself. I've let her pick out her own shampoos, body washes, deodorants, toothpastes, etc. to get her "excited" about hygiene but still she lacks the routine. Any suggestions?


Asked by at 11:54 AM on Jul. 20, 2008 in Tweens (9-12)

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Answers (11)
  • My sister and I started wearing deodorant when we were around 11 years of age. Sometimes we'd skip it. When we'd all get in the car to get ready to go somewhere, my mother would turn off the car and tell us "this car isn't going to move until the person that forgot to put on some deodorant, gets out of the car and goes to put some on. Then we can leave." Needless to say, that was embarrassing and we broke out of that habit quickly. Sometimes the same thing would happen if we skipped toothbrushing that morning. It was embarrassing but it got us to realize that just because we didn't think we smelled bad and nobody would notice, doesn't mean it was true.

    Answer by callico at 12:03 PM on Jul. 20, 2008

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  • Keep it up (what you're doing) but instead of being right on top of her, let her forget, then send her BACK to do it (takes more energy on her part)

    Answer by TXdanielly at 12:18 AM on Jul. 21, 2008

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  • Usually at that age it doesn't bother them too much until other children start making comments. Unfortunately, as hard as it is.. that's usually the way they become conscious of it.

    Answer by pupmom at 12:19 AM on Jul. 21, 2008

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  • Buy her The Care & Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls (American Girl Library). My nine year old girl couldn't put it down and is now much more into taking care of herself.

    It also describes menstruation, so if you buy it, be ready for that discussion.

    Very good book!!!


    Answer by Anonymous at 4:07 PM on Jul. 22, 2008

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  • Same thing here! I am constantly reminding her...tired of it.

    Answer by LavenderRose10 at 3:32 AM on Jul. 17, 2010

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  • How about a step by step list. I know 10 seems too old for this kind of thing, but my son who is almost 10 needs daily reminders also, so I just say look at the list and do it!
    There are still battles but I think the list helps

    Answer by RedRowan at 5:28 PM on Jul. 20, 2008

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  • my son is the same age and does the same thing to, i tell him that if he does want me to give him a bath then he better do it himself,and i tell him does he want his friends making fun of him calling him names in school, it help a little but i still ask him or remind him to dont dorget to do those things

    Answer by jackie240 at 5:37 PM on Jul. 20, 2008

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  • Explain to her that in order to have a healthy body, she needs to take care of herself.It's not about appearance,it's about health. Just sit down with her and come up with a schedule/routine for her bathing, etc. and make it non negotiable.My oldest son is 8 and I have to keep after him about showering and wearing deodorant, if he doesn't, he smells like a goat!! LOL!! Tell her she's not leaving the house until her hair is brushed, she's all showered and teeth clean, and stick with it!! In a couple years, she will WANT to look and smell pretty, but until then you have to keep after her.

    Answer by Bethsunshine at 9:37 PM on Jul. 20, 2008

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  • This has to be a tween thing my 12 year old girl does the same and we have fuss with her to get her to wash. What I have started doing is taking away phone time and t.v. time just to let her know that washing and hygiene is important.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:15 AM on Jul. 22, 2008

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  • omg!!! all of you too!!!!!!!!! my daughter just had her 10th b-day. she is adhd big children who aren't are being lazy too. I hate it. my husband and I are on her abought these same things. one thing no one mentioned was cleaning themselves after using the toliet & washing there hands.

    Answer by ANGEL570 at 3:47 AM on Aug. 20, 2010

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