It’s common for preteens and teenagers to go through phases where they resist showering or bathing regularly. As a parent, this can be frustrating and concerning. However, there are usually some underlying reasons why kids this age avoid showering that are worth exploring.
Common Reasons Kids Avoid Showering
Puberty can be an awkward time when kids become more self-conscious about their bodies. They may not want to see or wash parts of their body that are going through changes.
Girls in particular may be insecure about developing breasts and getting their period. Showering can cause anxiety around these insecurities.
Desire for Independence
As preteens and teens start to exert their independence, daily hygiene may be one area they try to control. Avoiding showering can be their way of rebelling against parental rules and expectations.
Between school, activities, friends, and devices, some kids have jam-packed schedules. Showering takes time and may not be a priority for busy tweens or teens. They may say they “forgot” or don’t have time.
Like adults, kids sometimes feel tired or lazy after a long day. The thought of standing in the shower may seem exhausting or tedious. Mornings can be especially difficult when kids are wiped out from staying up too late.
For some children, the feel of water spraying on them or the sound of the shower can be unpleasant. Kids with sensory processing difficulties may resist showering.
Depression in adolescents can manifest as a lack of interest in self-care such as regularly showering and bathing. If depression is the cause, other symptoms may also be present like sleeping too much or too little, irritability, and withdrawing from friends and family.
Tips for Getting Kids to Shower
If your tween or teen is refusing to shower, try some of these tips before tensions rise:
Have an Honest Conversation
Sit down with your child at a calm time and explain your concerns about their hygiene. Don’t criticize, but express worry about how skipping showers can affect their health, social life, and self-esteem.
Ask them open-ended questions about why they don’t want to shower and discuss solutions together.
Set a Routine
Establish a regular showering schedule, like before bedtime. Set reminders and provide rewards like a favorite snack or 30 extra minutes of device time for sticking to the routine.
Make sure to schedule showers around your child’s preferences – for example, some kids may strongly prefer mornings over evenings.
Get New Bath Products
Buy fun new shampoos, soaps, sponges, razors, etc. tailored to your child’s interests. Products marketed to adults rather than little kids can help teens feel more mature. Let them pick out products they find appealing.
Adjust the Shower Settings
Experiment with water temperature, pressure, and showerhead settings to make showering more enjoyable. Install a waterproof Bluetooth speaker so they can listen to music. Consider buying lush bathrobes and towels to create a spa-like experience.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Compliment your daughter when she showers without being reminded. Say she looks/smells nice, her hair looks shiny, etc. to positively reinforce the habit. Small rewards like picking dinner or a movie can also motivate.
Set a Good Example
Make sure you are modeling good hygiene habits for your kids to follow. Discuss how you make time to shower every day, use deodorant, wash your hair, shave, etc. Kids learn by watching their parents’ behavior.
Involve the Doctor
If avoiding showering persists despite your best efforts, bring it up to your child’s pediatrician. They can help rule out underlying physical or mental health issues and talk to your child about the importance of bathing.
With patience and compassion, you can get to the bottom of why your daughter is avoiding showering and come up with solutions. Try to make showering an uplifting rather than dreaded experience. With time, consistency and encouragement, the habit can form.