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Having trouble getting your kids to keep themselves clean?

As adults we know an important part of self-care is keeping ourselves clean, brushing our teeth, washing our faces, bodies and hair – yet somethings children do not see the importance of these simple things.


Spookje spends hours a day keeping himself looking immaculate! He’s the cleanest – and coolest – cat in town. Click on the image to listen to this Spookje Story which talks to children and preteens about self-care and why it is so important.

Why do Children Refuse to look after themselves?

We know that all feel better after a bath or shower, and having clean hair and finger nails make us feel better about ourselves, not to mention we smell and look much better too. Children are often the victims of vicious teasing or bullying if they have bad breath, smell or have greasy, spotty skin. So, with so many benefits of looking, being and feeling clean, what stops them from doing it?

  • Bath-time or brushing teeth used to be fun, with games and giggles, now bath-time is functional and the fun isn’t there any more.
  • Bath-time etc was a way to spend time with you and have your full attention.
  • It was a way you showed them you loved them – by nurturing them.
  • Many children are not sure how to go about having a bath or brushing their teeth on their own.
  • Children are afraid of doing it “wrong” so shy away.
  • Scared of getting shampoo in their eyes and it hurting.
  • Arguments between siblings at bath-time causes hurt and upset.
  • Over stimulation for some children with sensitivity issues.

So, in the video I talk about why it is important and here are a few tips for you to try at home:

  • Show them exactly what brushing their teeth looks like, how to do it and how long it takes.
  • Where are they more comfortable washing their face – in the bath, shower or at the basin? Let them choose.
  • What face wash, soap or gel are they using? It is one that stings their eyes? When you’re next at the supermarket with your children, let them choose a face-wash to try.
  • Do children know how to wash and shampoo their hair? Teach them slowly over a few weeks so it’s broken down into small chunks.
  • Do they have enough time to wash themselves – or is it in a rush when you need to go out?
  • What positive praise and reinforcement is given when they DO take care of themselves – rather than noticing when they do not?
  • What do they know about the consequences of not looking after themselves?
  • And finally – when do they know you will step in and do it for them? What power struggle is going on between you and your children?

If your child is resisting taking responsibility for their own self-care, please do get in touch. Responsibility is one of the key areas I focus on with children.