Washing hair

"I have a 9 1/2 month old daughter who loves bath time until it comes time to wash her hair. I've tried a few things with no success. Any tips would be appreciated."

"Both of our children had the same problem at the same age. Thankfully they both outgrew it within a matter of months. The thing we tried that worked the best was to give them a drywashcloth to hold while we washed their hair so they could feel they had control over getting water on their faces or in their eyes. Having them say a silly, nonsense word if they were upset, instead of whining or crying, helped a lot too. We also learned how to wash hair very rapidly."

"Try a wet washcloth over the eyes that she can `help' hold."

"Try covering her eyes with a warm washcloth before beginning the washing routine. Talk to her and tell her at each stage what you are going to do next. Our kids went through unhappy, screaming, phases with this also. We had a lot of loud, splashing baths but in time they learned to help keep the water out of their eyes either with a washcloth or by tilting their heads back while I covered their eyes with my hand."

"My 3 1/2 year old has always hated washing his hair in the bath. I finally discovered he likes to lay on his back on the kitchen counter getting his hair washed using the sprayer. I have good control of where the water goes and he can hold his blanket for comfort or play with a toy. This has worked for a couple years. Now he is beginning to dunk his own head in the bath."

"Try laying her on her back, on a full-size bath towel (folded in 1/2). Make sure the water is shallow so it doesn't come into her ears. Wash and rinse from the top of her head. Or, get into the tub with her. Place her on top of your thighs, face up, (her head just over your knees, and her buttocks against your tummy). A wash cloth under her head (over your knees) makes a mini-pillow. It's sort of the same theory as a beauty shop shampoo chair. Always have a dry towel or wash cloth near by to stop any drips before they come down onto her face."

"It's difficult but try to let the child have more control. I let my daughter approve water temp, and play before and after shampoo and cream rinse time. We also try and sing a song during this time which often works. My greatest help is the hand held shaver massage attachment which allows mom to put the water away from her face."

"We struggled through that for years with our son and never did find a good solution that worked consistently. With our daughter, two, we finally bought one of those bath hats from a catalog and it works like magic. There's a whole in the middle to wash the child's hair and the brim all around sticks out so far that the water just dribbles down away from her face. She balked the very first time, but even since then we never have tears in the tub. It was the best investment of $5 we've made in a long time. Believe the ad - it does work."

"My son was terrified of having his head wet and we battled for weeks. I finally discovered it helped when I would sing his favorite songs (loudly) as I did his hair. I also let him sit up so he felt more in control. I would use very little soap to lather, and then rinse by pouring water from a cup, making sure to avoid it dripping in his eyes. I would then wipe his face and hair with a washcloth and we were done. Quick and painless!"

"Try holding her by a sink and wash it before she goes into the tub, or try one of those shampoo hats that fits over his head with the visor on it so soap won't get into her eyes. Just keep trying, as she gets older she may change about it. Also, try diverting her attention while you shampoo with a bath toy or singing a song she knows."

"Both of my kids have been miserable at hair washing times. What worked for me is keep their hair short so it's easier to wash and wash it in the kitchen sink as the child lays on the counter. You support their head in your hand and lead them with stories or songs or encouraging statements as you wash."

"My child used to enjoy this time - now he screams, but he's now 3 years old. Try as many different games as you can, but always strive to be as quick as you possible can be with the task of cleaning, and spend more bath time or playing. I've heard that for older children, like 1/2 to 2 years, it is good to ask what they are frightened of, as some kids get notions like `my brains will wash away' - (I read this in a reputable magazine). Even though she's only 9 1/2 months, keep telling her, "It's ok, we'll be done so quickly.....all done!"

"Is the problem water in her eyes? Swim goggles (they come in very small sizes) helped with daughter. When she was old enough to understand well, telling her to look up at critical times so she wouldn't get water in her eyes really worked. We also made a game out of lathering her hair & letting her look in the mirror."

"Our boys have similar objections, and different things worked at different ages:

Let her hold a damp washcloth over her eyes to keep suds & water out.

Make sure you use `no-tears' shampoo.

Try different water temperatures - some children are extremely sensitive to warm or hot water.

Let her wash it herself.

Hold her head with one hand while washing with the other to minimize tipping her head or body.

Distract her with word games or songs, or calling her animal names (time to wash your flippers Miss Seal, and your whiskers).

Drain out most of the water before rinsing (if in the big tub) so it's not so scary to tip her head back or lay on her back to rinse her hair. Good luck!"

"Is the problem water in her face when you rinse her hair? My son of the same age always looks down at the water and plays with his toys. To get him to lift his head so I can rinse his head without getting water or shampoo in his eyes. I shake a rattle over his head. It works great!"

"This must be a phase that kids go through, and the solution depends on the age. At 9 1/2 months I would try things that didn't require her to lay down in the tub or close her eyes, like make a towel head band for around the hairline and wash the rest with a squirt bottle, or get a plastic cradle - try a seat you could put in the tub for her to sit in a semi-reclined position. For an older child, having a different caregiver (like dad) do the washing once or twice may do the trick, or take turns getting your way by skipping the hair every other bath time."

"The problem is usually a fear of getting water in their eyes. I found with our children that folding up a dry washcloth and letting the child hold it over their eyes would help. I also use a large cup to pour the water over their hair, which gives me a little more control over where it goes. I've also heard of people putting swimming goggles on their child when washing their hair."

"You could try washing her hair first and get it over with, and then she can look forward to the rest of her bath that she loves most. Maybe eventually she'll forget she doesn't like her hair washed. Her hair might also have tangles in it that hurt - try using a hair conditioner."

"If you can pinpoint which part of the shampoo time it is that really bothers her, perhaps you can change that part. For example, my daughter used to hate the rinse but if I used a washcloth instead of a cup to rinse, she didn't mind nearly as much. And remember, there's no law that says your child must get perfectly clean with each bath."

"I sing and say nursery rhymes to get through hair washing time. I use a spirited voice, animated facial expressions and make sure to maintain eye contact. I work fast, am careful not to get water/soap in her eyes, and don't talk about hair washing. If the distraction is successful, we have a little fun and her hair is clean before she knows it."

"Wash her hair first, then let the fun begin! Treat the hair washing very matter-of-factly. `Now it's time to wash your hair'. Don't ask her `Do you want to wash your hair now?', unless you're willing to forget the hair washing if she says `No!'. Good luck!"

"We have a `Kermit the Frog' made especially for water play. While we wash our son's hair he ashes Kermit's `hair'! It's a great distraction!"

"Our 16 month old son used to yell every time I washed his hair, too. I think the soap and water running into his face scares him. I try to hold my hand over his forehead so the water doesn't get into his eyes and I try to talk soothingly to him. He still gets a little agitated, but it's a lot better now. Maybe the `age of reason' will help!"

"Sarah (18 mos.) hated baths. She would stand and scream through the whole process. One day I bathed her and her 3 year old brother together. I gave them a cup to play with. She learned very quickly that she could fill the cup with water and dump it on Phillip. Bath time was great! I can wash her hair with not a squeak. She gets dumped on by Phillip so often and she can retaliate so it isn't scary anymore. Now she asks to take a bath. Put a towel against the tub to soak up water."

"I've learned to take a bath along with my daughter. Together we've made bath time a fun and educational experience. As we wash the parts of our bodies, I will name them. I will then stretch out my legs and slowly have her lay down upon them while supporting her head and neck with one hand making sure the water level does not run into her ears. All the while I;m talking to her softly and reassuring her that she is safe. I will then wet her hair with the wash cloth, sit her up and shampoo her hair. After she is shampooed, I will again have her lay on my legs, and rinse her hair with the wash cloth. No more water in her eyes or ears! My 3 year old daughter now looks forward to hair washing and bath time because we sing songs, say nursery rhymes, and make ourselves pretty for daddy!"

"There are two things that help(ed) me with my children when we wash their hair. First, make sure the water you use to rinse their hair. first, make sure the water you use to rinse is not too cold. Cold water down the back makes the child look down in an attempt to pull away, and this causes soapy water right over their face. Second, in young children, use one hand to keep the chin tipped back, in the other hand use a plastic drinking glass to pour the rinse water. This keeps the water off of the face, and seems to eliminate the panic reaction that having water pour over the face provokes. When the children were older, we started using a hand held shower nozzle. But, sometimes the sound of running water in the bathtub can be frightening for a young child, so we waited until they were 2 to 3 for the shower nozzle. Good luck!"

"I use a wash cloth to get my daughter's hair wet and use only a very small amount of baby shampoo. I remove as much suds as possible with the wash cloth, very gently. Then I use a plastic cup to pour bath water over the rest and give her the cup to play with when done. (Fortunately, babies don't need their hair shampooed as frequently as olderchildren.) Reserve the cup only for playing with after a shampoo."

"Before bath, tape a couple pictures high on the wall or ceiling. When it comes to the time when you need to wet shampoo, and rinse her hair, point up to the pictures and start talking about them. Quickly take care of the hair while she is looking up enjoying the scenery. Keep a towel handy for any water or soap that might get in her eyes. Also, flip her ears down so water doesn't get into the ears."

"Take her in the shower with you or avoid daily washing. Switch to every other day or weekly. Feel lucky she has some hair to wash...I wish my 9 month old did!"

"We had the same problem and after trying everything we could think of, finally had success with separating hair washing from bath time. We now wash our daughter's hair in the kitchen using the spray attachment. She also uses an inflatable visor to keep all the water off her face. It seemed like more work at first but since she hardly fusses anymore it's no trouble at all!"

"Have you tried taking a bath with her yourself - and shown her how much fun it could be - let her watch you washing your hair - let her try and help and say encouraging words like `It sure feels good to wash my hair'. `Now I'll be all nice and clean' - Smile and laugh through out it all. Show her that you can have fun getting clean!!"

"I had this problem with my 14 month old daughter. I discovered she had 2 problems with hair washing: (1) She didn't like water in her eyes, so we put a pair of swim goggles on her (make sure thy fit). (2) Water tended to run down her face making breathing difficult, so we pour the water from a toy watering can (slowly) and pretend it's raining. She loves it."

"I held both my children in the `football hold' under one arm. I support their bottom with a bent knee propped up on the edge of the toilet. Then wash their hair ben over the sink - face up. It worked great for me!"

"At a very young age we started slowly pouring buckets of water over our boys head's to rinse their hair. Our 6 year old loves the shower and our younger boys are starting to pour buckets over their own heads to rinse their hair. The key is using a no-more-tears shampoo and begin exposing them to water on their heads early."

"My 8 1/2 month old daughter and I take baths together sometimes - we have much more fun. I let her splash about, frolic or whatever for a few minutes. Then we get right to washing hair. I laugh and make noises while I'm dipping her head back - or I splash just enough to wet the hair. then I lather up and work the shampoo all around her head. Then I either dip her head back or use a wash cloth to rinse her, quickly, of course. Then we finish the bath and have more splashing fun. We put toys in the water, too. Then, when she's bathed, daddy comes with a dry towel and takes over the drying and dressing. I personally see just sitting her in a tub a chore. This seems more fun for both of us!!"

"Try washing her hair at the beginning of her bath time. Maybe she sees it as a signal that her fun time in the bath is ending. Also maybe the water has cooled off too much and it is uncomfortable. I also find that making up songs about washing her hair tends to amuse her and keep her mind off the water and soap."

"Try getting into the bathtub with her - sit face to face with her legs around your torso. Hold her neck and head firmly and slowly lean her back down into the water to wet, wash and rinse the hair. Talk in a soft, controlled and firm voice that she is safe and secure and you won't drop her or get water or soap into her eyes. She will feel much more calm with you right there. This method has worked wonders with our 14 month old daughter."

"My 6 month old son loves to get his hair washed. We start bath time with a sink full of warm water and I lay him on his back on the bathroom counter supporting his head over the sink. This way we have eye contact and can talk and make faces at each other while I was his hair. I use a small plastic glass to wet his hair and to rinse it. This way all of the water flows backwards and not into his face. After we are done with this we go into the bathtub for more play."

"Washing a dolly's hair together might be worth trying - make it fun! Your daughter might get into that. Our little ones, at various stages, did better while a parent bathed/showered with them. Sometimes quick passes under the shower worked well. Sometimes, being laid back, with support, helped during rinsing."

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