All Children's Hospital Logo

Health Information Library

Parents > Q&A > General Health > How Can I Encourage Good Hygiene Habits?
How Can I Encourage Good Hygiene Habits?

My preteen stepdaughter lives with her mother and visits us on the weekends. Her mother doesn't make her bathe every dayand sometimes she hasn't bathed or washed her hair for a week when she arrives at our house. What can I do to encourage good hygiene habits?
- Kirstie

It can be difficult when a child travels between two sets of parents with two different sets of expectations. Without criticizing her mother, you might want to gently point out to your stepdaughter that as she begins to enter puberty, she may need to bathe more.

New puberty hormones will stimulate the sweat glands to become more active. Sweat is odorless — however, when it's broken down by the bacteria on our skin, it creates an odor that can be unpleasant. Bathing daily with antibacterial soap and warm water helps decrease the amount of bacteria.

Those same puberty hormones can also make hair oilier, so hair will need to be washed more often as well.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: February 2012

Related Articles
K    All About Puberty
T    Dandruff
P    Dandruff (Seborrheic Dermatitis)
T    Everything You Wanted to Know About Puberty
T    Feeling Fresh
T    Hair Removal
T    Hygiene Basics
T    Taking Care of Your Hair
P    Talking to Your Child About Puberty
T    What Causes Bad Breath?
K    What's Sweat?
K    When Can I Wear Deodorant?
P    When Should Kids Start Using Deodorant?
T    Why Do I Sweat So Much?
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2015 KidsHealth® All rights reserved. Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and

Additional Info

Pocket Doc Mobile App
Maps and Locations (Mobile)
Programs & Services
For Health Professionals
For Patients & Families
Contact Us
Find a Doctor

All Children's Hospital
501 6th Ave South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 898-7451
(800) 456-4543

Use Normal Template
© 2015 All Children's Hospital - All Rights Reserved