If your toddler hates hair washing, firstly empathise with your toddler and help them work through their fear.
If you imagine you were petrified of heights, and someone you love, every day, threw you off a cliff into the water below, despite your screams and upset, you’ll begin to understand how hair washing feels to your toddler.
Instead of forcing your toddler, telling them off or fighting with them, Empathise with them!
Let them know you’re on their side.
Say: ‘you really don’t want your hair washed. You find it scary, and you don’t like water splashing on your face.’
Stop hair washing for a while, and clean off food in their hair with a facecloth before their bath.
The key to your toddler accepting a hair wash is feeling understood, respected and connected.
Secondly plan activities and solutions to decrease your toddler’s fear of hair washing.
- Get your toddler to wash your hair (while you pretend to be a bit frightened!)
- Wash a dolls hair.
- Go swimming.
- Play games that involve them getting their face wet.
- Let them choose which children’s shampoo they’d like to try.
- Get in the bath with your toddler (wearing a swimming costume if you’d rather.)
- Give your toddler a shower (with or without you in it.)
- Play with a hose, sprinkler or waterslide in the garden.
- Practice holding a facecloth on their face while you pretend to wash their hair.
- Buy a hair wash shield.
- Plan daily steps with your toddler that start off with just pouring a cup of water on the back of their hair and gradually move on to a full hair wash.
- Wash their hair just lying in the bath water -without the shower.
- Read books about hair washing.
- Or make up a story about the toddler who hated hair washing. And how, in the end, they loved it!
Make a list and let your toddler choose what they want to try first.
And gradually move on to options that involve your toddler having their hair washed.
Finally praise your toddler’s bravery when they get their face or hair wet.
Always praise them for being brave. Perhaps plan a little bravery award if they let you wash their hair.
If they cry- stop. Hug them and say: ‘it’s ok to cry. You didn’t like that! We’ll try again another day.’
Be really respectful, and let them know you’re on their side, not the enemy battling against them.
And gradually your toddler will end up letting you wash their hair.
So 3 tips if your child hates hair-washing are:
- Empathise with your toddler and help them work through their fear.
- Plan activities and solutions to decrease your toddler’s fear of hair washing.
- And praise your toddler’s bravery when they get their face or hair wet.
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