How To Teach your Tweens about Hygiene Pirate Style

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Don’t let your kids be Scared straight about Hygiene! Use the Pirates of the Caribbean movies to teach tweens hygiene.


How to use a Pirates of the Caribbean movie to instruct your tween in the ways of cleanliness.

The other night our family decided to sit down and watch a movie together. The kids picked out one of our favorites Pirates of the Caribbean! As we were watching it, I thought to myself, “what would their mother think? They are so disgustingly dirty and smelly!” At that moment I literally started laughing out loud because the thought came to me, “MY TWEEN IS JUST LIKE THIS PIRATE! DIRTY AND SMELLY!”

I guess I should back up a bit… The other day as my tween walked passed me I noticed something… Something I hadn’t smelt before… My nose immediately turned up at the stench of BO (Bad Odor!) And if there was one thing I would have to say I hate in this world it is stench!

I began to think about how I should address this “new smell” with my tween without making them feel weird about it. I came up with the normal ideas:

  1. Take my child aside and have the awkward talk with them that they are growing up and their body is changing and that they are starting to smell…. (you get the point I’m trying to make here)
  2. Take your child on a drive to the drug store and explain on the way that their body is changing it is time to start practicing proper hygiene and then walk them into the store to pick out products that they want to us.
  3. Have a great discussion over ice cream like we do for all the other talks we have had.
  4. Or I would just throw them in the car so they couldn’t escape and I would tell them that they smell and we ABSOLUTELY needed to do something about it!

None of these options seemed like the right one, so I admit I let him stink for a few more days!

At that moment, while watching the movie I knew exactly how I was going to teach my tween about hygiene in a very non-threatening, light-hearted, fun way!

Since we were watching the First Pirates of the Caribbean, I knew I would be able to watch the 2nd movie with him and he would be all for it! So I hopped on Amazon, ordered the movie and a few other things I would need!

This is How I taught My Tween about Hygiene with the Pirates of the Caribbean!

Set the stage: choose one of the Pirate movies to watch together with your son or daughter. (Or both!) Make it a fun date and bring popcorn, drinks, or some other yummy treats.

While you are watching the movie be sure to Point out these 5 Things!


  1. Pirate Teeth:  As the story unfolds a nasty looking pirate will eventually wander onto the screen. At your leisure pause the movie so that the alarming image is frozen on your television screen. Take this opportunity (there will be lots of them) to point out one of the pirate’s hygiene issues. Make a comment on how GROSS their teeth are! Let your kids agree with you! Have a brief discussion on the importance of brushing twice a day and flossing at least once.
  2. Pirate Skin:  Continue watching the movie and look for your next prime opportunity to pause so we can look at the fact that they are always dirty! Point out to your kids how funny it is that even though the pirates jump into the water from time to time they never come out clean. Engage with them, ask them why they never are clean? Hopefully (fingers crossed)  they say, it’s because they don’t ever use soap! Draw their attention to this fact, “You are right! They don’t! That must be why they are always dirty!” Perhaps mention to them that they must smell really bad too because they don’t use soap. Maybe even ask them if they want the Pirate to come share a room with them? This will get them talking and probably thinking, “When was the last time I used soap?
  3. Pirate Hair:  There are many characters in the film with greasy, dirty hair. Don’t be afraid to point this out to your tween. Ask the hard questions: “Does that look attractive?” “How do you think it smells?” Point out the fact that if they used shampoo how amazing their hair would look. Casually say, “using shampoo is key to great looking hair.” Most tweens need to use it every day for best results.
  4. Pirate Armpits:  Sweat stains are not attractive! Does your tween know this? Make sure they do. You could share with them that because they are growing their bodies are working hard to produce more hormones. Just because it is normal doesn’t mean it is good. Deodorant is their friend and they should apply it liberally every day (sometimes more than once) to avoid “pirate” like sweat stains and smells.
  5. Pirate Clothes:  The pirates always seem to be wearing the same grunge outfits. This is a great time to remind your kids that they should wear clean clothes every day. Even more important than clean clothes is clean underwear! Remind them that the place to find these clothes is in closets and drawers, not on the floor or in the dirty clothes basket. Thank heavens for washers and dryers!


As the movie draws to an end present them with all of the fun products they need to overcome teenage funk. Offer to answer any questions they might have! And remember to have fun with it!

Maybe your kids aren’t Pirate fans like mine! That’s okay! Get creative! Think outside of the box when teaching your tweens about hygiene!

Adapt this to your own tween’s needs. Do not give up! Hang in there! Be persistent! They will eventually get it. Good personal hygiene is an important life skill that they need to learn, like driving a car or managing money.

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Written by Whitney. Whitney is an intern that is currently finishing up her degree in marriage and family studies. We are so glad to have her working with us this semester.



6 thoughts on “How To Teach your Tweens about Hygiene Pirate Style”

  1. Well you certainly get more parent points than for my technique of throwing a can of deoderant at them and telling them they stink! I’m afraid it’s embarassment techniques all the way in my house. It’s a sad, sad day when your little one starts to smell like a grownup 🙁 I may have cried a little. Well done for being so imaginative though – you definitely score brownie points from me! #tweensteensbeyond

  2. This is a lot better than my approach! I think I bought deodorant and kept asking if they’d used it. It’s true that they do get a bit defensive and this is a great method of handling a tricky topic. Thanks so much for sharing with us at #TweensTeensBeyond

  3. Great idea! I’m a bit more gung-ho about this one too! In fact, I had a deodorant check-in point at one stage. I guess you could say I’m hardcore with a heart! Delightfully different post. Thanks for sharing with #tweensteensbeyond

  4. Wow Michelle you get full brownie points for being creative and considering your tween’s feelings. I have always been one to say it as it is. In the early days when mine were tweens I introduced them to the basic rules of hygiene and would politely remind them, now as teens I am less forgiving and will simply tell them they smell and nag them to get on and sort it out. Of course at the end of the day like anything the worst lesson is when someone who is not their mother tells them! Thanks for joining us. #TweensTeensBeyond

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