As your child with Down syndrome enters puberty, grooming and hygiene become increasingly important. Your child may need to learn new habits to stay well groomed. Cleanliness is very important for proper socialization and acceptance by peers.
Stress the importance of bathing and how good it feels to get clean and smell good. Pay special attention to helping your child keep his or her face clean.
Establish a routine for the order of grooming and hygiene-related tasks. For example, start with brushing teeth, using the bathroom, showering or bathing, and combing hair. You will also need to help your child with some occasional grooming tasks, such as clipping nails and scheduling regular haircuts.
Help your child shave as often as is needed. For girls, this may mean shaving the legs and underarms. Older boys and young men may need help shaving the face.
Buy deodorant and help your child incorporate its use into his or her daily routine.
After girls start menstruating, help them learn to use pads or tampons. Discuss how to keep track of the cycle and how to identify the physical signs that menstruation is about to occur. Remind them to keep supplies handy at school or in a purse.
Although it may take extra effort, teach your child how to do these self-care tasks on his or her own.
Medical Review:John Pope MD - Pediatrics & Donald Sproule MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Louis Pellegrino MD - Developmental Pediatrics
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