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2yo traumatised by everyday grooming - any advice??(20 Posts)
Sorry for the weird title, I don't know how else to describe it. My super happy and bubbly 27 month old is a complete nightmare at having anything done.
- Teeth brushed
- Hair brushed
- Hair tied up
- Nails trimmed
She has always been this way - ever since she was old enough to know something was happening but she is definitely getting worse. She gets herself worked up into a complete state of genuine and quite distressing upset - which ends the moment we stop whatever we're trying to do.
We are trying role play; letting her use the brushes/clippers on teddy etc, we're trying letting her do our hair and pretend to do our nails, and also give her the brush to do her own hair etc. We've got a friend coming over with their toddler who's going to do her DD's hair and nails while she's over as a bit of positive reenforcement.
My DD's hair is getting very long and is starting to get tangled, which is making brushing necessary and even more traumatic. Her toe nails are a disgrace and really need cutting. Ideally, we'd like to get her hair cut shorter to avoid the brushing until she's old enough to rationalise with. But, of course, having a hair cut would be a very distressing experience for everyone involved!
She's a little speech delayed and so having a conversation with her about what is happening, or going to happen, is not really successful yet as she just doesn't understand. `
Does anyone have any advice, experience or suggestions on how we might be able to help her (and us!) with this?
My dd is kind of similar, maybe not so bad, she cries like a banshee every time we brush her teeth, we have to pin her down and the only way to get it done without screaming is to make her laugh but that's not always easy.
Hair is not SO bad but I do have to ambush her and do it very quickly.
Her nails? Ugh tbh they are often too long.
Interestingly she's had her haircut three times and she was good as gold, they tend to turn it on for strangers! Have you given the haircut a go? She might surprise you.
Try massaging her scalp before brushing to desensitise it. Use diluted conditioner in a plant spray before brushing to reduce tangles.
Similarly, squeeze the end of her finger and clip (don't cut) nail quickly before the feeling returns to normal (or cut nails when asleep).
Tap or rub checks and gums, suck an ice cube before brush teeth, or use toothpaste on a flannel instead of a brush.
Google sensory + hair brushing, sensory + nail cutting etc. for other strategies.
I clip nails while my DCs are watching a cartoon and a bit distracted.
@Boohooyo - thank you! Sadly if our recent experience of getting the flu vaccine nasal spray is anything to go by, I don't think the hairdressers will be a huge success! She came out of the GP with a nose bleed from both nostrils and blood all over her face from the panic/thrashing about. The poor GP was so traumatised!
@Apple23 thank you for the suggestions - I'll definitely give the scalp massage a go tomorrow. I'm not convinced it's a sensory issue - it seems to be more of a control thing?!
@TimeToGoToSleep - thank you for the tip! Sadly have tried that one too and nothing seems to distract her from whatever we're trying to do - her entire focus will switch on to that.
It's how she's always been, but I've only recently started to see it as a problem - perhaps as she's getting stronger and more independent with age. I'm hopeful when she has more language we'll be able to talk things through with her and rationalise them a bit more.
We cut DD's hair into a bob at the same age as brushing and washing her hair was so traumatic. She was happy to tolerate hair brushing by the time she started school at age 4 so she started to grow it out then.
Can you turn things into a game, ask her comb your hair, say that it feels really good. Make it fun, get her to comb your hair over your eyes and joke you can't see anything.
Switch off authority, switch on big friend, be child like, make things into a game.
I bought a book from Amazon about how to playing with your kids.
Switch off authority, switch on big friend, be child like, make things into a game.
This is a really good technique actually, I should try this more, but oh it requires patience, especially when you need to be out the door by a certain time! ￼
I know it's hard but i don't think you can change behaviour when in...
Adult Authority Mode.
A top physiologist once said.....rules without relationship equals rebellion.
I think it can't be done over night, if you spend time, be goofy, laugh, smile, play, act like a child, you'll seem happy and children want to make you happy. This relationship building is going into the bank so when its time for them to co-operate you might have more success.
Also while you are in child mode you are very close the their behaviour and you can gently change it by frowning and saying you don't like it.
If children wouldn't co-operate with me in school (i was a 56 year old male volunteer.....a father of 3 grown up boys)
I would say, "well I'm not playing then." They had too much fun to lose.
Sometimes you've just got to do something but try to stay calm, use calm words. We are going to the shops, then put her in the car, screaming or not.
Playing with them has everything.........
Their imagination and your imagination....this has no limits.
Talking about what you are doing or what they are doing helps vocabulary.
Change, tweek their behaviour while in you are child mode, it disguises discipline and makes it hardly noticeable and non confrontational.
Makes you feel young.
It eases them into our adult world.
They feel safer.
Fathers could potentially be very good at this, that's why nature made men mature much later in life. (the trouble is they just don't know how much joy there is being involved with children)
You're totally right of course. Like I said earlier, if I can make my dd laugh then tooth brushing is a doddle, sometimes it's hard to know how though!
I definitely don't bother trying to be authoritarian because I've learnt from experience that that just makes her dig her heels in further and we both get upset.
I honestly don't think there's anything that would make washing her hair easy though, which is why it gets done about fortnightly ￼
Get her to hold the shower head and shower your head, sometimes mums are too uptight, responsible, won't relax etc.
Sorry just about what I've said, mums work really hard
Too much Adult Authority Mode builds resentment, you see AAM at school, in the police, in the council and government.
It's big in America, it might be at the heart of the mass shootings.
I played with the children in the nursery, the nursery teacher said, "that little girl lacked confidence before you arrived, you have really brought her on." I helped all over infants school, i thought the girls worked 3 times harder for me. I wasn't good at teaching but i pride myself in the coaching skills i learnt.
You're almost certainly right, but it's probably an interesting topic for another thread, I don't think there's any evidence of parents being over authoritarian here.
I didn't mean you was authoritative, it's just a theory I've got.
Thanks and good luck
We've been in a similar situation so what we did:
nails - when asleep, and then in front of a cartoon (not allowed any cartoons at this age so when it was on, nothing could distruct from watching), hair brushing - very quick with tangle teaser brush, teeth -was not a big problem but only with one particular toothbrush and only one brand of toothpaste. Nails, hair, teeth all improved with age, so now the only problems we are left with are doctors and hairdressers. So it did get better.
My daughter was the same so I cut her hair myself when she was 2. She was wailing in the bath one day and I just had enough so I chopped it myself. Her hair is wavy so it is very forgiving. If you don't want to do it yourself then get an hairdresser to make a house call she'll still be upset but you won't have to go through it in a public space. It sounds like you find it upsetting too the use of the word traumatising is pretty intense. If you are becoming upset yourself don't let her see it. Stay firm keep telling her it has to be done. I used to have to almost hold my dd down but there is only so upset she can become before she had to start calming down. She still hates having her hair washed and brushed but she tolerates it and she brushes her own teeth and hair and I only have to do her hair on very untidy days. Keep persevering and tell yourself and your little one it just has to be done. Because it does.
We are going through a very similar thing now - traumatising is definitely the word. We have tried everything in the book but cutting my 2 year olds nails tonight became so distressing for him that he actually made himself sick. Did it get any better? Did you find a way around it?
Cut her hair short, try clipping her nails when she's asleep.
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