The tips listed within this article are suitable for 9-15 years: hygiene for pre-teens and teenagers is very important for their wellbeing and personal growth. Advocating for the care for the girl-child in the essence of the date 28 May – Menstrual Hygiene Day by Kiitan Foundation is a must-read.
As adults, we have an important role to play in making sure our children know about how their bodies and that hygiene needs are going to change from to time, and in getting each child ready to manage the changes. The earlier you can start having these conversations, the better – before your child hits puberty is more ideal.
Check out some photos from our ‘Girl-child and the Pad outreach in Ibadan’
We would delve straight into how you can help young girls to keep healthy and clean hygiene. Here we go;
When children reach puberty, a new type of sweat gland develops in their armpits and genital areas. Skin bacteria feed on the sweat this type of gland produces, and this can lead to body odour (BO).
If your child washes their body and changes their clothes regularly, especially after physical activity, it’ll help to reduce the build-up of bacteria and avoid BO. Changing underwear and other clothes worn next to the skin is especially important. These clothes collect dead skin cells, sweat and body fluids, which bacteria love to eat. That’s why they get smelly.
The onset of puberty is also a good time for your child to start using antiperspirant deodorant. You can encourage your child to do this by letting them choose one. Note that there are many products that are deodorants but not antiperspirants. These products simply cover up odour. Antiperspirants stop BO by controlling how much your child sweats.
Smelly feet and shoes can also be a problem for teenagers, whether they’re sporty or not. Your child can avoid this issue by giving their feet extra attention in the shower, and making sure they’re completely dry before putting shoes on. It’s a good idea to encourage your child to alternate shoes and to wear cotton socks instead of ones made from synthetic fibres.
Good dental and mouth hygiene is as important now as it was when your child was little, and you’ll need to keep making regular dental appointments for your child. Brushing teeth twice a day, flossing, and going to the dentist regularly are vital if your child wants to avoid bad breath, gum problems, and tooth decay.
You can read more about dental care for pre-teens and dental care for teenagers.
Your child will need help to manage their menstrual periods at first. For example, you might need to talk with your child about how often to change their pad, tampon or period-proof underwear, and how to dispose of or clean it hygienically.
When your child starts to develop facial hair, you might need to give them some advice about when to start shaving and how to do it. You can encourage your child by letting them choose a razor and shaving cream.
Young people with additional needs are likely to need extra support with their personal hygiene. When you’re thinking about how to discuss hygiene with your child with additional needs, their learning ability and style might be a factor. For example, does your child prefer to learn by listening, seeing or doing?
You could consider breaking hygiene tasks – like showering, shaving, using deodorant, and cleaning teeth – into small steps. This way they might be easier for your child to learn.
If your child is in the habit of doing things at the same time each day, hygiene can be a normal and predictable part of a routine. A written schedule might also help your child remember what to do when.
If you’re finding it difficult to talk with your child about puberty and periods, you could make an appointment with your GP.
Curled from the Australian Parenting website; raisingchildren.net.au