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Any tips for washing a 1-2 year olds hair?

My son is 17 months old and loves bath time UNTIL it is time to wash his hair. When he first started to not like the shower wand, we would just lay him back in the water and hardly fill up the tub (so it wouldnt be in his ears) and he was just fine with that. Recently, he has started to scream when we do that. He has had ear infections, so I thought it may just be water getting in his ears. So, last night I tried the shower wand again (which he laughs at when it isn't washing his hair!). You would have thought I was torturing him! So, I tried just a cup and got the same reaction. Any tips that I may be missing? I have to get his hair clean without the screaming. My child never cries, so this is out of the ordinary for him!

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Asked by Glowing4Caleb at 11:38 AM on Mar. 13, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

Level 15 (1,867 Credits)
Answers (9)
  • my son is the same way! What i did was put my bathing suit? i dunno how u spell it lol but ne way i put the clothes on u go swimming with got in there with my son and showed him how i washed my hair....then i let him do it and let hm tilt my head badck and rinse it with the cup...sometimes when they do it their self it makes them feel easier about it...ever since then all i have to do is say u ready to look up at the starts on the ceiling? i put something up for him to look at while i was his hair and get a rag to let hiim hold over his eyes he doesnt do that now but it was easier for him then and then just took a small kids cup and rinsed his hair out....however there is the always let them scream and do it approach

    Answer by BBKMommy at 11:42 AM on Mar. 13, 2009

  • try putting cotton balls in his ears.
    Most kids do hate their hair being washed.

    Answer by gammie at 11:42 AM on Mar. 13, 2009

  • He has a fear for one reason or another so you have to relax him before rinsing. They make the handled hair rinsers that have a soft rubber area that you lightly push against their for heads so the water doesn't get into their face (toysRus, burlington). I count to three with my son and hold the back of his head and tip him back while I rinse real quick and say, "whooo" and he laughs a little.
    He doesn't really like it when his Dad rinses his hair so I think it's all about the approach and trust. There's some things that he lets Daddy do because Daddy does it better and others that Mommy does because I found the way that he likes better.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:51 AM on Mar. 13, 2009

  • I have seen those hair rinsers and keep debating on buying one. Maybe I can let him come with me to pick it out and make it kind of a big deal that he is getting one. (even though it isn't much different than the cup we use! LOL)

    Answer by Glowing4Caleb at 11:59 AM on Mar. 13, 2009

  • buy a foam visor for him to wear for rinsing. that will keep the water off his face. my mother taught me to hold a dry washcloth folded in thirds over my eyes and tip my head back whenever she rinsed my hair and that worked for me for my whole childhood until I could take showers by myself. I plan to teach my toddler to do the same but she's just not quite old enough to understand yet. DO NOT waste your money on one of those fancy looking rinse buckets with the rubber part that is supposed to lay on the forehead....I have one of those and it doesn't work any better than a regular cup.

    Answer by laadeedah at 12:13 PM on Mar. 13, 2009

  • I have one of the rinse buckets from toy's r us and they sound great but there's something that just dosen't work with them. When we used it we found that it only rinsed the back of the kids heads. We've since gone back to using cups. My baby (11 months) has a massive head of hair and she dosen't like the rinsing part, we just do it quick all the time reassuring her that it's ok. My older kids didn't like it for a while and we started to make a game of it. They had to try to hide from the water. We have glass shower doors so I just close them with enough room for my arm to reach in and throw cups of water at them. They think it's fun and then they get rinsed.
    If he dosen't like washing his hair maybe just rinse his hair every other bath time. Their hair dosen't need to be washed every day unless they get something in it.

    Answer by AmandaH321 at 1:13 PM on Mar. 13, 2009

  • Use swim goggles to keep the water out of his eyes.

    Answer by Maureen-MD at 5:11 PM on Mar. 13, 2009

  • I have dealt with this fear as a babysitter and this always works. Kids never cry when I wash their hair. First get or make some bath puppets. Puppets make a great distraction and kids would rather have the puppets washing a rinsing their hair. Buy a unbreakable mirror. At lunch or anytime way before bathtime show your son the puppets have them talk to him about having fun in the tub and allow him to play with them a bit. Tell your son you understand why he doesn't like to wash his hair. Tell him you know a way to keep soap and water out of his face that is fun. Tell him that you will use a puppet to wet his hair. He gets to make coyote calls. Demonstrate how. Tell him this will make all the water and soap stay out of his face. Also tell him you will be making him soapy animal ears and have him pick out what kind he wants eg cat, dog,.

    Answer by moodymoose77 at 5:25 AM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • Pt 2 Have fun! You can do animal ears, puppets, coyote calls, and toys in 20 minutes or less and no screams so you get a break along with your son. Let me know how it goes or if you have any questions. PS there is a longer answer on this site for a shampoo fear if you need more details. It's in three posts

    Answer by moodymoose77 at 5:30 AM on Jan. 19, 2011

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