**This post is sponsored by Mirum, but opinions expressed are my own.**
Without even trying, I have found myself as the mother of three serious, competitive athletes.
As someone who enjoys watching sports on TV and playing sports never, it wasn’t something I anticipated would such a major part of my lifestyle.
In fact, when I signed Dude 1 up for soccer just shy of his third birthday, I don’t even know that he’d kicked a soccer ball before. I didn’t think he’d have any particular affinity for the sport and it certainly wasn’t because of some dream that he would be bending it like Beckham in a few years. I honestly just did it because he was super shy and it seemed like a great way to get him to meet and interact with some kids his own age.
Plus, tiny shin guards are the cutest things in life.
He shocked us all by falling in love and has been playing ever since –he just finished his second year as a member of his high school team.
His two younger brothers began by following his footsteps onto the soccer field. They each excelled on the pitch as well but have since branched out to explore several other sports. Right now, they are largely basketball and football players.
All of them play sports year-round and, even when they aren’t training with a trainer, at practice with their team, or playing in a game, they are busy being active in some way.
If you have a tween or teen son at home, you know what that means in terms of personal hygiene –things can get interesting!
And not always interesting good.
Kids tend to reach an age when they quickly go from can-shower-three-times-a-week-and-probably-be-fine to OMG-roll-the-windows-down-I-can’t-take-it pretty quickly.
Puberty is just tough like that, for boys and girls alike, and adjusting to their new bodies takes time, effort, and countless reminders from mom and dad to help them develop new routines to stay fresh.
Of course they know they need to brush and floss and actually use soap when they shower –you’ve been doing it for them since they were babies –it’s more that they forget because puberty likes to mess with their brains a little too.
With my oldest, I was shocked to realize how much parental intervention a 12 year old boy requires to get from his bed to his school bus without falling victim to body odor. I incorrectly and unfairly assumed that if I just told him he smelled and shoved some deodorant at him, he’d know what to do and would make it stop.
Not so much.
I’ve learned that teaching your son personal hygiene requires almost as much training, support, and confidence building as teaching them to consistently hit a mid range jumper.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Teaching Your Active Son Personal Hygiene
Do: Start young.
Teaching your son personal hygiene begins with how you care for them as babies –changing their diapers in a timely manner, putting them in clean clothing, bathing them, combing their baby hair, brushing their first teeth, generally caring for them in a way you one day expect them to care for themselves. If you don’t brush and floss their teeth for them when they’re young, they won’t learn that they need to do it when they’re old enough to do so on their own
Don’t: Just assume they know what to do.
I remember when I brought home some acne facewash for one of my dudes and it sat on the sink, unopened, for a week before I finally asked him about why he wasn’t using. His answer was simple: I don’t know how! Well, duh, how would he know how?! A quick tutorial on how and when to use which products can make a huge difference.
Do: Be diligent.
Even once you know they know what to do and how to do it, don’t just assume they will! At 13, my son should 100% know he needs to brush his teeth every morning and, for the most part he does. It’s a matter of follow through, though and, if you know the life of a 13-year-old then you know that, for most of them, follow through is SO not their jam. So, to combat the dropping of the good hygiene ball, our morning routine sounds the same everyday…
Me: Brushed? Flossed? Hair? Deodorant?
Him: Yes, yes, yes, dang it!
And our bedtime routine sounds similar…
Me: Brushed? Flossed? Face?
Him: Yes, yes, doing it now.
Don’t: Be hurtful.
Learning to care for your body, particularly when it begins to change and grow, takes time so expect teaching your son personal hygiene to take time too. Every kid, probably even you, went through a period of generalized preteen funk. Shaming them and being hurtful is not productive to helping them develop body confidence and positivity at a time when they truly need to. Instead, speak to them kindly, demonstrate that you understand, educate them about why this is happening, and then provide them with guidance and support. Eventually, they will catch on (and their hormones will even out) and you will be buying more Axe body spray than you care to.
Do: Arm them with the right products.
My Dudes have forever been fans of Axe products so when they reached out and asked us to share some of our best tips and favorite products for keeping their personal hygiene on point, it was an easy choice. When each of my Dudes turned 10, we gifted them with basic smell good starter kits to help make it easy to stay fresh and clean. A quick trip to Walmart resulted in a personal care bag stuffed with Axe Gold Body Wash, Axe Gold Deodorant, Axe Gold Body Spray, a toothbrush, a tube of toothpaste, and a shower poof. I love that Axe is affordable and that they have so many products geared at young men. It makes it possible for me to stock up on their favorite scents and products and getting them to shower and freshen up is easier when there are products they know and love on hand.
Don’t: Forget to teach them about their clothing and gear.
It’s easy to overlook when they are shuffling back and forth to practice, stuffing gear and such into their bags, but keeping their clothing clean is as important as keeping themselves clean. Last basketball season, I couldn’t figure out why my son was still not fresh at the beginning of training, even though I’d witnessed his morning shower. I finally realized that he’d been stuffing his smelly penne into his bag after working out each day where it was left to turn into a virtual funk bomb. We developed a new post-training routine to ensure that his gear stays as clean and fresh as his bod.
Do: Encourage him to take care of his skin.
With sweat, acne can easily develop. Teach your son to use a good face wash and to clean his skin after workouts as soon as possible. Think about keeping some face cleansing cloths in your car so he can use one when you pick him up.
Don’t: Forget the power of smelly shoes.
Leave your son’s just worn cleats locked in your trunk overnight on a hot summer day and you will never get the smell out of your brain or your car! Remind your son to leave his shoes out to air and dry following practice and games. Keeping them locked in a tight space with no access to fresh air will keep them and everything around them super smelly. We also use these to kill odors: Sneaker Balls.
Do: Be willing to talk.
Be open and willing to chat about the changes your child is experiencing with them. Even if they don’t come to you with questions, you should make sure you take some time to engage them in conversations so they aren’t floundering with misinformation or secretly afraid of something they’re experiencing. Some parents find that talking about body changes and care for adolescents can be awkward, but if you have good facts and information you’ll feel more confident and so will they.
Have a tween or teen boy? Check out this fun video: Having the Talk with Kids