Julie’s parents work very early in the morning, and come home late. She is in charge of getting her brothers and sisters ready for school and bed. Sometimes she is in such a rush to get things done that she forgets to shower. Julie doesn’t feel it’s that important anyways. She says she’ll take a shower once she gets dirty. One day at school as the class is going to recess, some kids start laughing when they are around Julie. One of the kids says, “Ew, what’s that smell?” They tell Julie she smells funny and jokingly back away. Julie starts to cry and runs off to the corner of the playground.
Questions for Discussion
1. Why do you think the kids are making fun of her? What would you do if one of your friends came to school smelling weird, would you talk to them about it?
2. Do you think showering is important? Why or why not?
3. How often do you shower?
4. What are some consequences of not showering?
6. What products can you use to smell better?
** Personal hygiene may be described as the principle of maintaining cleanliness and grooming of the external body.
** Kids with poor hygiene face medical consequences and are more prone to developing rashes and infections.
** Poor personal hygiene is a contributor to the spread of infectious diseases. Touching the hands, clothing or bodies of people with poor hygiene spreads colds, ringworm, head and body lice, and other parasites and viruses.
** Cleaning your body is also important to ensure your skin rejuvenates itself, as the scrubbing of your arms, legs, and torso will slough off dead, dry skin and help your skin stay healthy and refreshed.
** Instead of sharing a bath towel, it's suggested to use your own towel. This will prevent cross-contamination.
**Avoiding certain aromatic foods like onions, garlic, or spicy dishes can reduce body odor.
** Remember: nothing smells better than clean skin. Perfumes are not a good substitute for a shower or wash.
** Underclothes are right next to your skin and collect dead skin cells, sweat and possibly other unmentionable stains. Overnight bacteria start to work on these stains so your clothes do not smell as nice on the second day of wearing. If you have to wear a school uniform then take it off as soon as you get home and hang it up to air before you wear it the next day.
** It’s so important to keep your hair clean and conditioned to ensure it stays healthy and strong. Washing your hair at least every other day is important to keeping your hair healthy and in good shape. If you wash it too frequently, your hair will become brittle and dry, making it difficult to grow and keep strong. If you wash it too infrequently, it will become greasy and will also stunt its growth.
** Social aspects can be affected, as many people would rather alienate themselves from someone who has bad personal hygiene than to tell them how they could improve. Bullies may use bad personal hygiene as a way of abusing their victims, using social embarrassment as a weapon.
** In the 'olden' days all water had to be boiled on a fire or wood stove, and then carried to a washbowl or bath. Often families would only have a bath once a week (or less often) when all the family would use the same bath water, one after another.
How Mentors Can Help:
** Start the conversation by talking about each other’s daily routines. For instance “I wake up, shower, brush my teeth, eat breakfast and go to work, what do you usually do when you wake up?” This is a non confrontational way to open the door on these sensitive issues.
**Discuss the pros and cons of daily hair washing. Some teens may prefer to skip days to prevent their hair from drying out. Others may want to wash their hair daily -- especially if they have oily hair, which can both look greasy and aggravate acne.
** It’s also important to consider that for children who are going through puberty, which can start as early as 7 to 9 years of age, this is a major transition. Simply put, their bodies need more care than they have in the past in order to remain clean. Talk to your mentee about the changes in their body and why good hygiene is important.
** If your mentee associates showering or bathing with relaxing, they are less likely to fuss when it comes time to clean up. Tell your mentee to use this time in the bathroom to calm down, think about the day, relax, and plan for the week ahead.
** Compliment your mentee when they take the time to look good. They should know that people notice their efforts, and that personal appearance in terms of cleanliness does matter.
** It's easy for kids to go overboard on colognes or body sprays. Be sure you explain that a little bit goes a long way. Smelling good doesn’t always mean they are clean.
* http://www.livestrong.com/article/85452-personal-hygiene/ (article on Personal Hygiene)
* http://www.moneyinstructor.com/art/goodhygiene.asp (tips for good hygiene)
* http://www.ehow.com/about_5410437_information-personal-hygiene.html information on personal hygiene
* http://www.prokerala.com/kids/parenting/child-hygiene-and-wellness.php Wellness and hygiene tips for children