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Washing Children's Hair

Friendly discussion on all issues related to parenting. Stories, experiences, alternatives, tips and support. This is a place to share ideas with other parents on the tough job of raising kids.

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Washing Children's Hair

Postby boyzbymommy on Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:10 pm

I have a 4 year old who had a very traumatic experience within the past year (left an abusive relationship, as the child was physically abused). Anyway, when it comes to bathtime, everything is fine until I go to wash the hair. Then it's freakout time. I have tried everything, from putting swimming goggles over the eyes to using the watering can for a gentle spray.

Does anyone have any tips? It's been about 5 months since the child was able to have a good shampoo.

I'm afraid I'm going to have to just do it, and I know the outcome will be all out hysteria.
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Re: Washing Children's Hair

Postby TP on Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:17 pm

mmm tough one, the first thought which came to mind is possibly, a sunvisor type hat, should keep the water off the face, and then maybe add some distraction, like those crayons you can draw on the shower walls with, let him color, while you wash... perhaps..? or see if he wants to help with the washing chore..? Not really sure if you have tried these suggestions, but felt the need to give one. good luck..!
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Re: Washing Children's Hair

Postby Guest on Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:24 pm

My son used to freak out for the hairwashing as well.
I discovered letting him rinse the shampoo out himself worked.
(like letting him lay back in the water and scrub his head)

Seriously bathtime in our house was like something from the 3 stooges.
I always ended up more soaking wet than him!
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Re: Washing Children's Hair

Postby kattnipp on Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:29 pm

We bought this things at walmart(toy or infant section) for the bath. They are either round with animal faces on them or the shapes of animals and you fill them with water that you can then squirt out by squeezing the ball/animal. Our daughter hates getting her hair done with this has helped a lot. It takes a LONG time to get a good rinse but if you don't mind the waiting it works great. We also let her spray us with them so she sees they can be fun.
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Re: Washing Children's Hair

Postby leanne on Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:54 pm

You don't say if you have a boy or girl, but I found that letting my girls bring barbies in teh bath helped - they wash barbie hair and I wash their hair. When she was younger I'd share a bath with her and she'd wash mine and I'd wash hers. But at 3 1/2 it's rare we share tub space and given that you were pretty non-specific about the abuse issues don't know how comfortable your child would be with sharing a bath.

My oldest dd has freakin thick hair so no water squirt toy would even come close to washing the soap out. I also found that she became much better when I installed a hand held shower and let her rinse her own hair in the "waterfall". Now that she's comfortable doing a back float we find that works best... that and lots of compliments about how pretty and beautiful her hair is and how it smells so nice... etc.

In the interim, I'd go for a nice short haircut!

If this is a new behaviour, I'd also try to find out the connection to the abuse - what happened that left them fearful of the tub? If they were forced to wash their hair by inapprorpriate physical restraint then forcing them to wash it now is likely only going to make the problem worse not better... let them get their on their own. I heard that lice actually prefers clean hair, so rinse as much out as you can with water and don't sweat it too much.
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Re: Washing Children's Hair

Postby prettyblonde on Tue Aug 05, 2008 7:15 pm

Someting that I learned when my dd was young - with any type of situation is singing songs. It not only helps you remain calm, haha, but it sometimes makes it "fun" for them as well. So for bathtime we sing "Mama oh mama, come wash my hair, wash my hair, wash my hair,mama oh mama, come wash my hair, so it is nice and clean-o" then we go through the different body parts. My dd still doesn't like it when I pour the water over her head and prefers it when she does it herself though...and she sings with me now, but she says "daddy" when I say mommy! whatever works! Just be gentle, slow and start at the back...
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Re: Washing Children's Hair

Postby Guest on Tue Aug 05, 2008 8:30 pm

My 4.5 year old DD screams too and she doesn't even have an excuse :shock:

What I did was buy a removeable shower head from Home Depot that is small enough that she can control it. I let her rinse her own hair while I tip her hair back. She likes the control and it gives her some comfort.

My BFF just found an AMAZING hair washing bucket at Toys R Us. She says it suctions to the child's head so they can tip back their hair and it then it rinses with no water in the eyes or ears. Now I have to go and find one too.
http://www.toysrus.ca/product/index.jsp ... Id=3056098
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My DS screams too. We found that DH needs to hold his head back and I rinse using the shower head and he is FAR more receptive to a bucket.

Good Luck
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Re: Washing Children's Hair

Postby Mrs. Stroumboulopoulos on Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:48 pm

leanne wrote:My oldest dd has freakin thick hair so no water squirt toy would even come close to washing the soap out. I also found that she became much better when I installed a hand held shower...In the interim, I'd go for a nice short haircut!

This is exactly what I did too. DD just tips her head back and holds a washcloth over her face just in case a 'drip' gets in her eyes. When she was little I just got her to lay back in the bath and we rinsed her head that way.
She's had her hair thinned (under layers) and is now sporting an inverted bob. So much easier. She is now wanting to rinse her hair own her own with the removable shower head. I should add that it has 4 or 5 diff. settings so it doesn't have to spray quite so hard on their little heads. :)
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Re: Washing Children's Hair

Postby Sunnygirl on Tue Aug 05, 2008 10:11 pm

DS has quite an aversion to water in his face and until last month it was a struggle every shampoo (is 5.5). What worked was finally laying down in a shallow bath on his back next to his little sister (she always does it).... and I praised him and told him that as he was able to do that now he could have the choice of washing his own hair now instead of me doing it..... a lot less shrieking from the bathroom now LOL.
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Re: Washing Children's Hair

Postby monikah on Tue Aug 05, 2008 11:16 pm

DD hates having her hair washed and she's 7. When she was 3 she'd scream bloody murder and there was no way we could do it. I don't recommend forcing the issue. You can always cut her hair super short and rub it with a wet face cloth.

What we do is what my mom did with us. I have her lay on the bathroom counter on her back (kitchen counter works too). Then I put some towels under her neck and wash her hair in the sink. I give her a towel in case there's splashes.

I'd say, try to work up to it. Ask the child questions about what exactly they're afraid off. Maybe its the shampoo stinging he reyes. Try just wetting her hair with water until she gets used to it. Then maybe try an all-in-one shampoo/conditioner and use just a little bit. And yes, I think a short hair cut is in order.

Someone also told me once there's a powder you can come through your hair instead of washing. I've never seen it in stores, but maybe its out there.
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Re: Washing Children's Hair

Postby aydonsmama on Wed Aug 06, 2008 6:25 am

my 3 yr old DD and my 4 1/2 yr old DS are both exactly like this. (even after watching their 11 month old brother laugh when we pour water on his head) the only thing that has worked for us is giving them a "shub" a shower tub. we put the plug in the drain turn the shower on shampoo and wash them then fill the tub. they love it. this is a very hard thing to figure out all kids are so different. good luck and god bless you for getting that child out of that situation.
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Re: Washing Children's Hair

Postby my2sons on Sun Aug 10, 2008 2:32 pm

My guys take well to humour. When they were younger I'd say to them, "Okay, who's ready to cry first- I'm going to wash hair now." They'd then laugh and NOT cry and as I'm washing I say, "C'mon, why aren't you screaming? Let's hear it! This is TERRIBLE having your hair washed!" and they'd laugh and say "No, mommy, we like it now!"

I guess in a kind way I sorta took the wind out of their sails?
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Re: Washing Children's Hair

Postby Mrs. Stroumboulopoulos on Sun Nov 16, 2008 2:10 pm

I had to find this thread to mention that we have had wonderful success with our 2 year old in the hair rinsing dept. -
Sticker on the ceiling! Such a simple solution I can't believe I didn't think of it when DD1 was a toddler.
First couple times I think I said "Look at the pony!!" a half a million times, but now she just automatically looks up at it when we say it's time to rinse. :)
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Re: Washing Children's Hair

Postby Guest on Sun Nov 16, 2008 2:57 pm

Mrs. Stroumboulopoulos wrote:I had to find this thread to mention that we have had wonderful success with our 2 year old in the hair rinsing dept. -
Sticker on the ceiling! Such a simple solution I can't believe I didn't think of it when DD1 was a toddler.
First couple times I think I said "Look at the pony!!" a half a million times, but now she just automatically looks up at it when we say it's time to rinse. :)


OMG what a great idea :D I will just try that.
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Re: Washing Children's Hair

Postby rainkat on Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:15 am

try letting your child hold a hand mirror so they can watch what you are doing. my oldest had problems with hair washing and that helped him to feel more secure.
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