16 answers

How to Introduce 11 Year Old Boy to Proper Showering and Deodorant - Need Advice

My son showed me his underarms the other day and they were bright red with a rash and some dirt/fibers built up. Yikes! I felt horrible!! I've shown him how to shower many times and thought he hand the hang of it. I walked him back through the process yesterday and with two attempts he got out of the shower clean. I'm thinking it's time to purchase deodorant for him too???? He does not have any body odor. Also how often should 11 year old boys be showering??

Any other hygeine tips will be appreciated!
M. M.

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So What Happened?™

Thanks for all the good insight. I purchased some deodorant for him and talked about showering the three spots each time - pits, privates and butt. The rest isn't as important! He's showered daily the past two days and while really not wanting the deodorant...he is wearing it. He also mentioned some of the kids in his 5th grade class wear it. So obviously, he talked to some of the kids at school about this. I'm going to check out that book "No BO" that someone mentioned. It's time for a longer talk. Thanks!

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There is a great book called "No B.O. - the head to toe book of hygiene for preteens" by M. Crump and E. Verdick that might be helpful.
The redness under his arms may be related to a skin condition due to perspiration and may need some type of medication or cortisone cream. Once the regular showers start, I would keep an eye on that so it doesn't get out of control.
You are doing a good job.

1 mom found this helpful

ah boys...absolute humiliation works well! hahaha
my son was about that age...and one day he took a shower, and didn't even wash his hair...and it was obvious to me...so I said to him, "fine...if you can't do it right, I guess mommy(SARCASM) will still have to do it for you" and I actually stood outside the shower and washed his hair for him, soaped up the sponge and told him how to wash...he was angry....he took very thorough showers after that....i just threatened that I would wash him if he couldn't do it right...and how embarrassing would that be for him???
it might've been a mean thing to do...but it worked.
I started having my son use deodorant as soon as hair started to come in under his arms. so it was about that age. I just bought something very gentle, like a sensitive skin formula, just incase.
as far as how often, my son is 15 now and showers daily, and has been for a while...he has very fine blond hair though, so it looks terrible if he doesn't wash it and style it every day. my daughter is 8 and showers or takes a bath every other day.

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There is a great book called "No B.O. - the head to toe book of hygiene for preteens" by M. Crump and E. Verdick that might be helpful.
The redness under his arms may be related to a skin condition due to perspiration and may need some type of medication or cortisone cream. Once the regular showers start, I would keep an eye on that so it doesn't get out of control.
You are doing a good job.

1 mom found this helpful

My 11 year old showers every other day unless he gets dirty or sweaty with sports or something. I just went out and bought deodorant and showed him how to apply it (roll on) and each day reminded him while he was getting dressed not to forget his deodorant. Never had a problem. He doesn't shower so good either. I do a spot check on him also, mostly his hair. They are in a hurry and just want to get done. He'll get better with time. Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi M.
I had a friend who had learning disability, she had a list of what to do to get ready for bed/the day taped to the mirror.
As for deodorant I'd suggest something natural. There are way to many chemicals in all our products these days. I think it's causing a lot of problems with kids. We use a liquid mineral salt deodorant from the health food store, and it's not to $$ either. I use teetree oil for skin problems (it's great for faces)it's an antiseptic and all natural. A few drops goes a long way.
A. H

1 mom found this helpful

Mine went through the not wanting to shower thing at this age too. Seems to be a boy thing. Let him go with you and pick out his own deodorant, since there are just as many or more scents for boys as for girls, it might help get him interested. My friends son has a mild autism and she was having trouble with him remembering how to shower and brush his teeth. She made some charts (with drawings or found some online) and printed them and laminated them (several layers of clear contact paper should work) and put them in the shower and on the bathroom wall for him to refer to when he was in the act. Good luck. They do outgrow this, and then you can keep them out of the shower when they turn 13 or 14.

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I think an anti-persperant might help him. That rash sounds like a heat rash, probably from sweating. As for how often he should shower, I'd say every other day unless he's been physically active, then that day too. I think boys just naturally stink and are grody. My mom takes care of teen girls that have emotional and learning disabilities. She is constantly on them regarding hygene. So just remind him every time he gets in the shower "remember to wash your armpits, remember to scrub this or that", and be patient. It may take a few attempts and several reminders in the next months. Good luck

1 mom found this helpful

boy sure can be stinky lol tween boys may need to shower every day depending on the boy!

With Kyle having special needs you will probably need to be more involved in his hygiene.
Not being able to see the rash, as long as it goes away you're good. If it hangs around and it stinky it may be a yeast infection on his skin and he would need a prescription from his doctor.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I think the only thing you can do is walk your children through the process of personal hygeine and make sure they know to come to you if they have any questions, no matter what. My 12 year old son wears deoderant and in the summer showers every night. In the winter it's usually every other night. It depends on if he was out playing or lounging around the house. Every now and then I'll ask him to make sure he is washing properly, cleaning his ears, cutting his nails/toenails, etc. Good luck!!

hi M.~
My daughter is 9, and we recently got her deoderant! All of a sudden one day I noticed there was a tiny bit of B.O. and I was really surprised because of her age, but I know it's different for each kid. Then I happened to find a coupon for this 'cool girls deoderant' and used the opportunity to casually mention to her that I found the coupon and "why don't we go get some for you, because I think you're old enough for it now!" Luckily, she thought it was cool, and got to pick out 2 different scents. I told her she was pretty much a 'tween' and that's when a lot of kids start with this stuff (same with showering a little more often.) I don't know if this approach could work for your son, and if deoderant would help the problem he's having with the redness/etc., but approaching it at a level or way that would work for him personally and help him understand would be best! Good luck!!

Hi M.
Being that it is summer, If your son is active I would say showering everyday, or at least washing up in the evening and showering every other day.

Usually around 4th or 5th grade most schools teach about puberty and good hygene and such, so now is absolutly appropriate for him to begin using deoderant. I know that they have some marketed for teenage/pre-teen girls, but I don't know about boys. He may need one not heavily scented though to aviod rashes and such.

Perhaps even a book on hygene from the library might be good if he does not feel comfortable talking about things like that with you. Some kids are very sensitive, but you don't want it to be another child at school sayign something about him need ing a shower. That would be awful, and the pre-teen years are hard enough! :)

Have a good summer!

Have a good summer!

I agree with Kelly K. I had to stand at the shower with my son to make sure he was clean abuot once a week at that age. He's now 13 and has it all under control. When the girls started becoming interesting he started doing a better job on his own. Now he uses to much deodorant and body spray! Just make sure your son showers daily and provide the hygeine supplies, he'll figure it out fast. Good luck!

ah boys...absolute humiliation works well! hahaha
my son was about that age...and one day he took a shower, and didn't even wash his hair...and it was obvious to me...so I said to him, "fine...if you can't do it right, I guess mommy(SARCASM) will still have to do it for you" and I actually stood outside the shower and washed his hair for him, soaped up the sponge and told him how to wash...he was angry....he took very thorough showers after that....i just threatened that I would wash him if he couldn't do it right...and how embarrassing would that be for him???
it might've been a mean thing to do...but it worked.
I started having my son use deodorant as soon as hair started to come in under his arms. so it was about that age. I just bought something very gentle, like a sensitive skin formula, just incase.
as far as how often, my son is 15 now and showers daily, and has been for a while...he has very fine blond hair though, so it looks terrible if he doesn't wash it and style it every day. my daughter is 8 and showers or takes a bath every other day.

He'll get it, don't worry. If there are learning difficulties, then more patience is needed. Gently explain to him tho that adolescents can be mean if someone doesn't seem hygenic. And he might be entering into adolescence early. But do him a favor and don't buy just any deodorant. Get to Better Health or Whole Foods and find an organic product. Production line made stuff has the potential to do more harm than good and he doesn't need any more against him.
I went into needing deodorant at least at 11. So there's no telling when it will happen. You can always use the "male ego" thought, that guys who smell well showered and shaved get the chicks! That might not be important to him, but it also helps friends to stick around instead of avoiding someone because they don't use deo.
Good luck, M.. You're doing fine! Sometimes it just takes more repetition. Kudos!

It's probably not so much that he isn't properly bathing, but that he's probably getting raw from sweat and movement. I would get him an ANTIperspirant, not deodorant and see if that helps. Also - in the mean time, cornstarch is very soothing and drys out a rash. Good luck! Sounds like his horomones are kicking in!

I would get him some body wash, it lathers well and will really do the trick. Also I don't think it will hurt for him to start using deodorant, if you think he needs it. Watch the rash under his arms as it could be a yeast infection, believe it or not, my son had one under his arms as a teen. Good luck and just keep him showering every night and he'll be fine.

My son is now 16 and showers every morning without being told. But before this year, I had to tell him to shower every night and remind him to use deodorant. After a while your son will just get used to it and yes things change on their own when the ladies become of bigger interest. Just keep on him. Each night or morning...tell him to shower and tell him to wash his armpits good and then when he's done, tell him to make sure to use the deodorant. I still have to tell my son to brush his teeth at night sometimes...UGGG! lol. It gets better with time (but again..it's a girl thing).

The redness under his arms may be from sweating and not neccessarily from not washing properly. Get him deodorant that also has anti-perspirant in it and see if that helps. Boys do go through a period of not wanting to shower and get cleaned up though. Mine did. I really had to get after him for a long time about it and then girls started to peak his interest. All of a sudden he was clean and his teeth were brushed...lol.

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