Introducing body care to your child

Teenage boy showering

Teaching your child about body care can be tricky, especially as they grow older and perhaps more sensitive about hygiene.

Dove asked Mumsnetters to share their tips for tackling tricky conversations about puberty and self-care with their kids, and some handy hacks emerged from the discussion. So if you're after a few tips on how to successfully broach the subject with your child, we've got you covered.

Praise them
Bright text 'you smell good'

“Your hair is so shiny! The bathroom smells so lovely after your shower! I love your minty breath! I keep our bathroom well stocked with kind-to-skin, subtle-scented and inexpensive products.”

Give them a fruity solution
Strawberries and coconut

“It’s hard because they don’t really appreciate how much their bodies have changed. I have found that a lot of the most suitable products seem too grown up. They are still children after all. Anything with a strong, fruity sweet scent really seems to appeal to them. They are more likely to use a cleanser if it smells strongly of coconut or strawberries.”

Take a step back
Woman holds hands up in surrender

“What's worked for me is to let DC choose their own shower products and deodorants, as they're far more likely to use something that they want. My mum bought me this horrid old lady roll-on back when i was 11 years old but i didn't like using it at all. Spray deodorants were really cool back then (this was 1989, by the way) but she wouldn't let me have one. I eventually bought one with my own pocket money and happily used it every day. The freedom of choice encourages good hygiene habits.”

Appeal to their inner scientist
Bacteria in Petri dish

“I'm in the pre-teen stage here, so we’ve talked about puberty and hygiene being really important from a health point of view. I've got a geeky child who loves discussion about bacteria so that’s helpful when discussing things like body odour.”

Discuss those fuzzy feelings
Woman washes her hair

“I'm a youth worker and we have just covered this with our teenagers. We also explored mindful self-care. I brought in a oil diffuser thing and got the youths to experiment with different smells, discovering what they like and dislike. We then made some lavender bags and talked about how certain smells and scents evoke memories or makes them feel calm or relaxed etc. We then talked about things we can do at home to slow down and why this is so important. We also spoke about how showers, baths and daily routines keep us grounded and make us feel good about ourselves.”

Get your reading glasses out
Mother and daughter read a book together

“I bought books about puberty for my kids and we discuss the importance of looking after our hygiene. I am keen to educate them in cruelty-free products and also try to always choose vegetarian/vegan items, as I want them to consider the ethics of their shopping items.”

Be an open book
Woman does skincare routine

“I think it is a gradual process. My DC are too young to use many products yet but they know the importance of washing their hands and hair, having a bath/shower, brushing teeth etc. They see me using other things such as deodorant and will ask what they are. I think it's about being open and honest, managing expectations, and giving advice.”

Don't break the bank
Teenage girl sprays deodorant

“I foolishly thought that going really expensive was the answer, so I showered my DD with expensive face products. After too much faff, teenage laziness and money down the drain, we now all use Dove DermaSeries [currently only available in the US]. For deodorant, we use Dove Invisible Dry. It's gentle but tough, and teenagers need something strong!”

Think inside the box
Treasure chest

“My daughter is eight years old and already starting to develop. We think puberty is just around the corner. She already has a roll-on deodorant which we have got her into the habit of using every day. I've spoken to her about her period and what it is and I've made her a special box which she keeps in her bedroom with a hot water bottle, sanitary towels, hand sanitiser, a special 'grown up' shower gel and some chocolate. I hope she knows that she can talk to me about anything, but also if she needs anything from the box she doesn't have to ask.”

Got a tip to add? Join the conversation here.