By Heather Bowman
As I navigate puberty with my tweens, I am walking on eggshells. I’m careful not to elevate physical appearance as the most important thing about them. I try not to focus only on the imperfections that are popping up on their faces and odors emitting from their private parts. But I also want to teach them how to care for their bodies so that they don’t get made fun of by other kids.
I’m celebrating my kids’ blemishes as milestones. “This is a step towards adulthood!” My daughter’s first breakout turned into a spa night. We set out for the drug store to find skincare items and followed that up with learning how to use the new cleanser and moisturizer together.
I am a big fan of the cleansing towelettes. They are a bit more expensive but super easy for kids to use either in the bathroom or in their bedrooms. Bonus: because there are 30 in a pack, I can monitor how often the kids are actually using them. If we get to the end of the month and my son still has a pack ¾ full, I know it’s not the product’s fault.
We normalized skincare in our house by moving our nightly routines out of the master bathroom and into the bathroom in the hallway. Each night as we’re all getting ready for bed, my kids see me and my husband go through similar routines at the bathroom sink: teeth brushing, flossing, face-washing, all of it.
Skincare needs evolve so I also provide my kids with a hygiene care package four times a year: Christmas, Easter, last day of school, and first day of school. In the beginning, it was new toothbrushes and bubble bath. Now they include other basics like deodorant and lotion. I throw in some treats like nail polish or a face mask to make it fun. The routine gives me a chance to sneak new products in. It also gives me an ongoing opportunity to ask if there are any products they need or want.
Overall, we have approached it as we have every other thing: this is a new challenge and it takes some conversations and learning. I don’t pretend to know everything about skincare but I share what I do know and partner with them as we figure out the rest.
Heather Bowman is working on a book about raising step-kids while doing an incredible job raising step-kids of her own.