When your kids are between 9 and 12 years old, you'll need to sit them down and talk about their personal hygiene as well as the changes their bodies will be going through. They may not understand what is happening to them, which is why you will play an important role in helping them cope with these changes.

Tweens do not grow up at the same pace. Some start young and immediately become conscious about hygiene and cleanliness. Others may need some encouragement to maintain healthy habits and routines. Both are perfectly normal and should not be reasons for worry. Sometimes bodies simply mature faster than the actual realization that, at this age, hygiene is of utmost importance. That's why you have to make sure that your tween understands the importance of good hygiene habits.

Do not let your child get away with poor hygiene, but do not be too harsh on her, either. Here are some tips to help her adjust to her new self:

(First published as "Teacher Says" from the "Good Family" section of Good Housekeeping Philippines' December 2009 issue. Adapted for use in FemaleNetwork. Photo by Lesley Show via Flickr Creative Commons; used for illustrative purposes only.)

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