When you’re the mom of a teen boy, the last place you want to visit is Funky Town. Hormones, sporting events, and missed showers can leave your home smelling more like a locker room than a field of gardenias.
If you don’t want the funk to hit the fan, consider these five tips to help your teen son smell a little bit better.
Establish A Bedtime Routine
I know he’s older than two. But, routines establish habits. And, let’s face it taking a daily shower is a good habit for everyone, especially teen boys, to have. Not only does it help him make personal hygiene a priority, but it also establishes him as a good citizen. Remember the first rule of civics: my rights end where your rights begin. On the reverse, I have a right not to have my nostrils assaulted by the stench of an unwashed teen.
Consider adding the following tasks to your teen’s bedtime routine:
- A quick straighten to their bedroom
- Lay out clothing for the next day
- Bathroom time: face, body, teeth
- Read something
Make Fresh Towels Readily Available
Tuesday is towel day at my house. This phenomenon occurs because of a conversation I had with my mom during my teen years. One day she asked my sisters and me why we had so few wash clothes on laundry day. “We only use one a week,” we said. Aghast, she asked, “You mean to tell me you wash your face with the same towel you used to wash your butt?”
Let’s just say, since that glorious day, I reach for a fresh towel whenever I take a shower. At my home, I take this a step further: everyone gets a package of disposable face cloths each month. If the boys run out by the end of the month, I know they washed their faces at least once daily. If not, well, I get to save a little money the following month.
Teach Proper Garment Care
The only thing worse than a stinky body is sour clothes. If you’ve ever left your clothes in the washing machine overnight during the summer, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s that smell that sneaks up on you once your body heat activates the mildew in clothing.
To prevent this, encourage your teen boy to not only wash his clothes but to be diligent about moving them from the washing machine to the dryer as soon as possible.
If your teen already has a few sour clothes, try washing them with a cup of vinegar before you toss them.
Provide Easy Access to Personal Care Items
Good hygiene goes beyond what happens with soap and water in the bathroom. Like adult males, teen boys need total body care. Your son should have the following items in his toiletry arsenal:
- Shampoo, Conditioner, and Other Hair Products
- Facial Cleansers and Lotion as well as Acne Treatments and a Shaving Kit, if necessary
- Body Lotion
- Deodorant (one for home and one for his gym bag or backpack)
- Soap or Body Wash
- Dental Care Items: Toothpaste, Toothbrush, Floss, Mouthwash
- MISC Items: QTips, Nail Clippers, Cologne or Body Spray, Foot Powder, Antifungal Spray
QUICK TIP: When my boys transitioned from sweet-smelling littles to sweaty teens, we set up a toiletry bin near the front door. It contained deodorant, lotion, and hair brushes/picks. Before leaving home, I’d ask (my last point) did you remember to put on deodorant? If the answer was no, they didn’t have to go to the back of the house.
Teens are forgetful creatures. Just like you must remind your son to take out the trash or wash the dishes, you might have to do the same thing when it comes to personal hygiene.
If it’s getting close to bedtime time, ask:
- Did you shower yet?
- Did you wash your face?
- Did you brush your teeth? Floss?
Working with your son to help him have better hygiene will not only improve his self-esteem, but it will also help you have a fresher home. When he’s a parent in his forties he just might remember the cool thing you told him about personal care and pass it on to his son.