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Encouraging Good Hygiene

Sweat, grime, overactive oil glands, and random food particles can result in a certain, ahem, gamy smell and greasy look. But many kids this age, boys especially, still aren't mature enough to want to slow down to shower or brush their teeth, says Gwenn O'Keeffe, M.D., mom of two and editor-in-chief of the website Pediatricsnow.com. How to get your reluctant bather to suds up:

Be honest about odor


Explain that body odor and bad breath are big turnoffs—other kids may tease him—and getting cavities filled is no fun, either.

 

Set house rules


Point out that everyone else has to wash up daily—it's simply family policy. Setting a good example, and asking your dentist and pediatrician to push the point at the next checkup, can be convincing.

 

Make it appealing


Let your tween choose his own deodorant and shampoo, and consider a cool electronic toothbrush that will do some of the work for him. Also, a shorter haircut makes lathering easier (and, hopefully, more frequent).

 

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