Taming Toddler Hair
Does your child run in fear from brushes, shriek at the sight of a shampoo bottle or have hair that looks like she's been lost
in the woods for a week? Join the club! Almost every toddler I know has gone through bouts of fighting shampoos or
brushings. Here are some things that have worked for me and moms I know.
- Experiment with different ways to wash your child's hair. You can wet it by smoothing a wet washcloth down the back of
her head if she's on an anti-water campaign. You can rinse it this way too, though it takes longer.
Some kids hate having water dumped on their heads but will lie down in the water to rinse if you hold them well and make
it fun. My friend Trevi's daughter loves hearing the sound of her voice underwater, so she puts up with lying down to rinse
- Some toddlers like the shower. You can also try using a shower attachment on a gentle setting to rinse.
My two year-old daughter Victoria hates all of it, but she is willing to look up at the ceiling so I can pour water over her
hair without it running into her face. I tell her what a brave, brave girl she is and then gush a lot when we're done about
how proud I am. That keeps her going without screaming or fighting me.
- Some babies like the visors that slip over their heads to keep water out of their faces. You can find them at most discount
stores like Walmart.
- Another idea is to give them a dry hand towel or washcloth to hold over their faces as you pour water. If their eyes stay dry
they're usually fine. Which brings us to the strangest suggestion: goggles! It's worth a try!.
- If your child's hair is hard to brush, try making your own conditioning spray. Mix one part conditioner (any) to 3 parts water
and put it in a spray bottle. Spray her wet hair with it after the bath and don't rinse. It makes it softer and more manageable.
- Make it fun. Victoria will sit with me for me to brush her hair if we're watching a special program and talking. Also, I bring
a little mousse and let her play with small dollops and put them in her hair. She loves the texture of it and will let me brush
all I want.
- Try different brushes. Some types really pull on hair, while softer bristles are more gentle. A friend's daughter has very
curly hair that's tough to brush, and her brush looks just like the type that slips over your hand for brushing pets. They're
rubber with just rounded rubber nubs to brush hair easily. It sounds weird, but if it makes your child happy and keeps her
hair nice it's worth it!
- Use mousse or gel when it's wet and brush it into place so it falls into place naturally the rest of the time. If you wait for it
to dry and let it be unruly, it'll gravitate towards that messiness throughout the day.
- Get a cut that's easy to manage. A good haircut will make it look presentable most of the time without a lot of effort. I find
that bangs help for us, plus having the ends all one length. Even unbrushed, it still doesn't look like she was raised by
wolves anymore. :)
- If you want to keep a hat, barrette or one of those baby garters on their heads here's how. If your child is like mine, she'll rip
it off the second it hits her scalp. Trick her by distracting her as you put it on. Slip on the offending headpiece and then
immediately grab her hands, make a silly face and start doing any weird, fun thing you can think of. Keep it up for at least
30 seconds and half the time they'll forget it's on their heads, sometimes for up to an hour. Or at least they forget they mind.
You may have to try it several times to get it to work, but it's the only thing I've found that works.
- Forget about barrettes unless you have a really forgiving child. They are hard to get in and often hurt to get out. Try
butterfly clips to keep hair back, and be prepared to lose approximately 15 per day.
- If you want to put something in her hair, put it in yours first. Try putting a headband on a small child and she'll shriek and
run like you're trying to insert tacks in her scalp. Put it on your head and pretend it's yours, and she'll howl for you to share
and then proudly wear it the rest of the day.
- Think about whether it's worth it too. About a year ago I was trying to get Victoria to sit still so I could put some sort of
little pretty thing in her hair and arrange it nicely. A helpful friend joined us and started telling Victoria how pretty she
looked. Upset that it was hurting her and annoying her, she shouted "I don't want to look pretty!". Suddenly I realized what
message I was sending by teaching my daughter to endure pain to look pretty. Good grief, where were my priorities? I
dumped the plastic girlie doo-dads and let my daughter escape with her tousled, natural hair. Childhood is short, and
sometimes the best tip is to let it be.
To the Article Index
All works on this site Alicia Bayer unless otherwise noted.
Don't take it - that would be rude.