Health and hygiene are two pieces of the preteen puzzle that will become even more important as your child grows. With the onset of puberty, things will start to change, and you'll want to be aware of the following:
- Exercise: Teach simple methods of exercise, such as walking up stairs or parking farther away from the entrance in parking lots. Children ages 6 to 17 need at least an hour of moderate exercise a day [source: Mayo Clinic].
- Bathing: Bathing, hair washing and facial cleansing are all important. Many preteens are going to experience pimples and breakouts, so educate here as well.
- Mouth care: Brushing teeth, flossing and using mouthwash are key to preserving all the time and money you've invested at the dentist.
- Antiperspirant/deodorant: This will become even more important as their hormones become more active and sweating increases.
- Shaving: Although boys may not be ready to tackle this one yet, girls may be ready to start shaving. Be ready to teach them how to do so safely.
- Menstruation: This will come with a slew of different health and hygiene considerations, so be prepared to offer answers to a variety of questions.
- Sex: Preteens might be more in the know than they seem, so talk about sex as soon as you feel they can understand it.
If you establish rules early, your preteens may take on many of these tasks naturally. As with all these tips, remain positive and supportive when your preteen does things right. Learn even more about parenting by visiting the links on the next page.