Let’s be honest for a minute. If you are raising boys, you know about “boy funk” – that nasty odor that emanates from your boys the second they leave the shower (or so it seems.) If my boys walk outside, I know I can expect smelly kids when they return. But, there is hope. If we teach our boys personal hygiene, and make sure they are actually listening and taking action, then we won’t have to plug our noses when they come in for a hug.
Teaching Boys Personal Hygiene
It seems as though personal hygiene should be pretty common sense. You wash your hands, you brush your teeth, you take a bath…etc. But to a boy, who has time for that? My boys have boundless energy and they don’t always want to take time to clean up. Here are some things we need to be teaching our boys about personal hygiene so they don’t STINK!
1. Body Odor
Boys don’t have to be going through puberty to be smelly, although that does increase the smell. Make sure they are getting cleaned in the shower and tub. When they are young, we need to show them what it means to get clean. You can’t just get wet. (We’ve all heard stories of the kid who went into the bathroom, turned on the water, but didn’t actually get in, right?)
Soap with Charcoal in it has been the best thing ever for getting rid of the boy funk and even acne. Teach them to use soap and a wash cloth to really scrub the dirt and stink away from their entire body. And make sure they rinse the shampoo out of their hair. If it is left, it can cause their hair to get greasy and smelly.
Here is the charcoal bar that I make my boys use: Biore Charcoal Bar
Once they start to have underarm body odor, have them wear deodorant. Puberty is starting at younger and younger ages and one of the common questions I hear in my Moms of Boys community is, “When do boys need to start wearing deodorant?” My answer is, “When they need it.” My older boys were seven but my current seven-year-old hasn’t needed it yet. There are several books that can help your boys understand their bodies and what changes will happen at puberty, including body odor!
2. Brush Teeth
Stinky breath is no fun for anyone. It can make someone feel insecure or make other people not want to get to close. Read our post 6 Tips to Get Your Kids to Brush Their Teeth, to get ideas on how to make toothbrushing a habit. When you child hits the teen years, you may need to add in some mouthwash to their brushing routine.
3. Pimples and Oily Skin
Acne can have an emotional effect on teens and can even lead to depression. Encourage your teens to use a gentle cleanser on their face but not to over scrub. Contrary to what a lot of people believe, acne is not caused by a dirty face but is caused by hormones, natural oils in the skin and bacteria. Sometimes over-the-counter treatments such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can take care of acne, but don’t hesitate to see a dermatologist if it gets worse or your child is embarrassed or withdrawing from social situations. Once again, a soap with charcoal in it has worked wonders on my son’s greasy skin.
4. Handwashing and Nails
I don’t even want to think about the things my boys touch when they are out and about. Ewww! I make sure they wash their hands the minute they get home and have taught them to keep their nails trimmed so that dirt and germs don’t hide there. I have taught my boys to sing Happy Birthday while they wash their hands to make sure they get clean. I have witnessed the 3 second “cleaning” before and can tell you that it does not work to get rid of dirt, so as often as I can I remind them to wash longer. I even send a little bottle of hand sanitizer with them to use before lunch at school. I don’t know if they USE it or not, but I feel better knowing they have it.
I didn’t realize that my boys could become so attached to an item of clothing that they would wear it and not change it after showering. A few years back there it was a pair of boxers with skulls on it that became the hot item in the house. I discovered that they weren’t making it into the wash but were being worn over and over again. Gross! Make sure they put on clean clothes everyday, because they might not think it is a problem to wear the same pair of boxers as long as they have showered.
Raising boys is always an adventure and we are trying our best to teach personal hygiene to our boys so they can grow into clean and nice-smelling adults. 🙂
What tips for teaching hygiene to boys did I miss?
This post is a part of our series 31 Days of Tips for Raising Boys. Each day throughout the series we are discussing a different topic regarding raising boys. I’d love for you to follow along and share this series with other parents of boys who may need some support or just to hear that they aren’t alone in their journey of raising boys.
Check out the next post in the series: Tips to Reduce Sibling Rivalry
Find all of our posts in one place on our series home page: 31 Days of Tips for Raising Boys
Read these other posts on dealing with stinky, dirty boys: