I’m tired of reminding my child to use deodorant. What should I do?

One of the earliest signs of puberty is increased body odor. In the beginning, it may only be detectable after a child finishes playing a sport or participating in gym class. As he gets older, the need for deodorant becomes more obvious.

Kids sometimes hear about body odor from teachers who discuss general hygiene in class. Sometimes they hear about it from classmates: “You have b.o.” “Jeremy stinks!” More often, however, they won’t mention body odor to a friend for fear of hurting his feelings. Instead, it’s a parent who first tells a child to start using deodorant.

His reaction will vary, depending on his maturity and his ability to practice good hygiene. Some kids are quite practical. They’re independent about getting ready for school and activities, and they easily incorporate deodorant use into their daily routine with only an occasional reminder.

Many other ten- to thirteen-year-olds need frequent reminders. They have much on their minds, especially in the morning: “Where’s my lunch money? Did I study enough for the math test? What pants should I wear? I wish I could go back to sleep.” They have trouble remembering about teeth, cleanliness, and nails, and deodorant is just one more thing that’s easily forgotten.

Finally, some kids these ages may not be ready—or willing—to think about bodily changes, especially increased odor. They don’t yet have an adolescent’s concern about image, and they can’t easily detect the odor themselves. They would just as soon ignore the issue.

This is frustrating for parents who want to spare their child and themselves embarrassment. They don’t want him to be teased and they don’t want other adults to say, “He shouldn’t let his kid smell like that.” One teacher announced to her class, “Somebody in here has body odor.”

To get your child to use deodorant, make it easy for him. Put the container in clear sight along with his toothbrush, soap, and hair-brush. If deodorant is kept in a cabinet, he may never think about it. Post a friendly or humorous note on the bathroom mirror. Remind him every morning. Put deodorant in his overnight bag when he sleeps out.

New routines always take time to learn, and soon enough your child will take over responsibility for this and the other aspects of grooming. The closer he gets to adolescence, the more he will focus on his body and his appearance.

For now, he’s not being neglectful or lazy. He’s either genuinely for-getting about deodorant or he’s uncomfortable about this new part of his life. Let him know that his feelings are common, and keep talking to him about the importance of good hygiene.

Picture Credit : Google