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Is it usual for a 6 year old boy to scream during hair washing?

(22 Posts)
SunnyLikeThursday Sat 08-Apr-17 08:54:05


My ds is 6 but will be 7 in one month. He has always hated hair washing and didn't allow us to wash his hair at all until he was 5.

Since he was 5 we have been getting quite good at it, and we have been washing his hair once a week, but he is again getting into the habit of screaming bloody murder throughout the whole process again, which is quite frazzling.

All we do is sit him in the bath with a hair washing shield thing on, to stop the water getting in his eyes. I foam up the soap and rub it on his hair, and then my dh holds a muslin square to dry any water on his face while I rinse the soap off at the back with a sponge. We encourage him to keep his "nose to the ceiling" during this so the water runs down the back. We don't lie him down as this makes things worse.

I only wonder because I hear a lot of people saying that hair washing with boys is difficult, but then my dentist said the other day that my kid is super highly-strung and I wondered if maybe we have a general problem that needs fixing.

I just wondered if others who have boys of this age also find hair washing difficult?


GwendolynMary Sat 08-Apr-17 09:01:24

My just-6yo still panics about water on his face, even though he goes to swimming lessons. There, he has goggles and he insists that is the difference.

We've got to the point where we have agreed he has to wash his hair weekly and that's non-negotiable. He lies flat on his back in shallow water and rinses it himself, at his own pace. And then races for a dry towel after. He is pretty anxious on the whole, scared of lots if different things. He responds quite well to firm boundaries though - it reassures him. So only washing on Thursdays and he has to rinse himself has taken a lot of the drama out of hair washing.

SunnyLikeThursday Sat 08-Apr-17 09:12:50

Thanks, that's very reassuring to know. I've started setting a google email alert to prod me into doing the Saturday hairwash. That way it definitely happens at the same time every week, and hopefully that pattern might help a bit.

We did try the lying down thing, but that didn't seem to help.

I just read on netmums about someone who washed her son's hair with him lying on the worktop and her doing the washing with the kitchen tap so his face didn't get wet at all. Could be awkward if he rolled off though.

JiltedJohnsJulie Sat 08-Apr-17 09:13:12

DS was a screamer too but was over it by this age. I think we took the same route as Gwendolyn. The swimming lessons did help too.

dollarstodonuts Sat 08-Apr-17 09:20:13

Try him in the shower. Let him just play in there the first few times. Mine hated water being tipped over his head but will happily go under the shower. Partly I think because he can control it. Might be worth a go.

SunnyLikeThursday Sat 08-Apr-17 09:24:26

Thanks that's good to know about the shower and swimming lessons. We haven't plucked up the courage to try either of those yet.

dollarstodonuts Sat 08-Apr-17 09:28:24

Chuck some toys like cars and Lego in there to entice him in. I let mine play with the sprayer attachment after I wash his hair.

ohforfoxsake Sat 08-Apr-17 09:30:23

Yes my DS was like this. He hated water going in his eyes. It passed.

SunnyLikeThursday Sat 08-Apr-17 09:41:49

If it's the eyes that are the problem, do you think that goggles would help? We haven't tried that. It would mean a stripe of his hair wouldn't get washed, but possibly we could just live with that.

llangennith Sat 08-Apr-17 10:03:40

DGS was ok with hairwash generally till he was about 5 or 6 then had a massive screaming tantrum every time I mentioned hairwash. Nothing to do with water in eyes etc, he just didn't want to be messed about with while he was happily playing in the bath. During that time his hair didn't get washed that much!
I started giving him the choice of shower or bath telling him that whichever he chose her was still going to have to wash his hair.
He's 9 now and reluctantly washes his hairsmile

SunnyLikeThursday Sat 08-Apr-17 12:03:20

llngennith That's interesting that it can change like that. A Dad friend of mine told me when ds was 2 that if I just waited until he was 15 years old then he would start washing his hair himself and all my problems would be solved. :-)

ohforfoxsake Sat 08-Apr-17 17:08:59

I think I just held a folded flannel over his eyes and tipped his head back, being careful to make sure it goes over the back of his head. All over very quickly. It didn't last long.

Noteventhebestdrummer Sun 09-Apr-17 08:16:35

Hmmm, thinking about the comment from your dentist makes me wonder if it's a problem bigger than hair washing. Is your DS sensitive about lots of things? Or is he trying to be in charge of situations that are stressful?

Oblomov17 Sun 09-Apr-17 09:07:57

This is not ok. I think you need to be firm on this. Which bit exactly bothers him? You need to at least try and figure out what the Core issue IS, and thus how to address it. A 6 year old screaming, is not ok.

Why not Sit him down and explain that this needs to change. No more screaming. You appreciate he doesn't like it, but it needs to happen. And you understand he doesn't like it, but the screaming needs to stop.

Yeeyeelovesraaraa Mon 10-Apr-17 20:13:37

We use a jug for rinsing & ds (6) likes to pour it himself with a bit of guidance from us - he doesnt seem to mind it on his face that way. Maybe because he feels more grown up/independent? Ditto the shower.

Could you try that approach?

CauliflowerSqueeze Mon 10-Apr-17 20:18:17

Do you think if you and his dad are there doing it that the whole thing has become a Massive Deal and therefore his levels of anxiety rise as the cavalry come in to do the Weekly Hair Wash? How about getting a mirror and getting him to rub it in himself? You can hold a mirror up so he can see what he's doing.

BlueChampagne Tue 11-Apr-17 15:45:04

I let my boys wear their swimming goggles for hair washing! Makes it a little more awkward doing the back but their hair is fairly short so it's OK and cuts down on fuss.

MrsELM21 Tue 11-Apr-17 15:54:47

Do you think you might be making it into too much of a 'thing' with you both being there with shields & muslins etc??

Sometimes when my kids don't want to do things like that I'll do it super quick and say things like 'do you think I could wash your hair before you count to 30?' Then have him count and just do it, fast!!

clearsommespace Tue 11-Apr-17 15:56:00

DD used to do this at the same age. Goggles and a jug helped. She is generally highly strung but has grown out of the hair-washing fuss.

LorLorr2 Tue 11-Apr-17 19:17:11

That was the age where I despised hair washed too, I would cry and cry, our poor neighbours!
It was a bit overwhelming having the feeling and sound of water rushing over me. It was painful too as I had hard-to-manage hair and absolutely hated people scrubbing at it.
You have a few options, you could try the 'go as fast as you can' way, the 'let him take control' way, or the 'relaxing experience' way.

The first one is self explanatory but to do a mixture of the last 2, you could make hair washing a quiet time where you talk gently and ask him how floaty he feels in the water, getting him to zone in on a few of his senses like look at the water, what can you hear etc. Open the shampoo so he can say what he thinks it smells like. Maybe he could apply it to his own head and try to work up a lather and feel the suds between his fingers. If he hates the rinsing part but doesn't like to lie down either then I suppose that's the hard bit to solve, but you could ask him 'how shall we get that shampoo out?' and let him choose.
Bit more time-consuming I know, but if it works and makes the experience slightly more pleasant for both of you then it's worth it. He'll speed up and get better with it over time whatever you do, well I did and I was anxious too x

AppleAndBlackberry Tue 11-Apr-17 19:38:53

I have a DD like this, when she was a baby I used to wash her hair with a flannel because she hated it so much. She hates hair brushing too. I don't think it's 'normal', but don't think you can fix it either, I think some kids/people are more sensitive than others. My second child has no problems with hair washing or brushing at all.

SunnyLikeThursday Tue 18-Apr-17 23:46:55

Thanks for all this good advice. I took ds swimming and you're right, it did really help. No screaming this last bath time. Phew!

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