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how does your 4yr old cope with

(15 Posts)
yawningmonster Sat 16-Aug-08 09:27:45



face washing

nail cutting

just the thought of these is starting to get me down due to the way ds reacts and a doctors trip maybe imminent as he hurt his arm today (which has previously been broken) and am a bit concerned about it.

Fanlight Sat 16-Aug-08 09:29:14

Well my now 5yo is pretty cool smile

He was totally awful until he was five. No idea why it sudden;y changed. I couldn't get him near a doctor or a dentist.

Hair we still struggle with a little wink

Nails, I have no idea how they fall off because I do not cut them!!

Good luck x

yawningmonster Sat 16-Aug-08 09:40:44

thank you, thank goodness it isn't just him...the hairdresser makes sure there is no one else in as earlier in the year a customer thought she had cut him as he was making such a deal, last doctors visit I had to tuck his legs in between my knees, restrain his arms while the nurse held his head to have his temp taken, he had to be sedated when he broke his arm so they could get an xray)

yawningmonster Sat 16-Aug-08 10:01:41

Any tips for how you dealt with it all?

Fanlight Sat 16-Aug-08 10:04:11

Hmm...well I don't really know how he suddenly got a handle on it. I think perhaps he just reached a point, y'know...when it didn't worry him any more. Probably watching programmes about that kind of thing really helped.

I'm not sure. But he is really good now.

I hope yours manages to overcome his fear. It's very hard isn't it?

yawningmonster Sat 16-Aug-08 10:14:29

thanks we do try books and lots of talking about it. Seems a mix of fear and anger over losing control iykwim...he just doesn't like anything done TO him and although we try to involve him in the processes in any way we can he still blows. I hope that like your ds he will just click one day that it is ok.

jollydo Sat 16-Aug-08 10:18:18

Our 4 year old ds hates any sort of 'interfering' like hair cut, cream on cuts, nails cut, and won't let the dentist near him. (This last one I sympathise with as our dentist intimidates ME - I'm looking for a different NHS one - the first time we took ds he was fine until the rather enormous man forced his mouth open and started counting his teeth without even talking to him at all first....he had been practising opening his mouth for the dentist all morning but was absolutely terrified.... but that's another story.)

We generally don't force the issue unless we have to - obviously medical care would count there. We cut his nails when asleep, used to do same with his hair but last time he finally let us cut it while he sat there!
He used to hate hair washing, and we just did it when it REALLY needed it, but after a lot of times with playing/splashing water about at bath time he has now got over that and now pours water all over his own head every bath time.
I try to deal with cuts etc. very quickly and with lots of reassurance. Face washing he's not so bad with, but also do quick and maybe with jokes and games if necessary e.g. teddy bear has face washed too.
However irrational these fears seem, they are so real to children, and I find that if we try to force things the fears grow rather than go away... but that might be my ds in particular. I think (and the signs are) that he will slowly get over them in his own time. But it IS frustrating smile.

I think if he had to go to doctors, I would try to talk about it a lot to explain exactly what would happen, acknowledge his fear, and reassure him as much as possible throughout. But I can't say if that would help as we haven't had to so far...

yawningmonster Sat 16-Aug-08 10:30:39

thanks jollydo, it really is reassuring to know there are others out there. We do the same as you at the moment
Doctors only when really needed and lots of talking and reassuring but also staying firm if he has to go he has to (luckily gp is brilliant)
Hair ditto, will only wash once a week, on same day each week so he knows what to expect and when, we cover his face in a flannel tip head right back and do as quickly as possible but is usually a full on battle, cutting we go to very understanding cutter who has lovely dog which ds loves before and after cut (she doesn't seem to make a difference to the actual event though)
Dentist so far we have been really lucky to have very understanding dentist who got ds to roar for as loud and long as he could into mirror and ds managed really well for this
Nails in sleep, though he will often stir. I agree about forcing making it worse but sometimes we just have to put our foot down I really don't want to risk nits as that would be a nightmare so we try to keep it short and this also means not having to wash it so often and not brushing it at all and same with doctor, sometimes he just has to be seen. Anyway thanks for letting me know I am not alone

Twiglett Sat 16-Aug-08 10:35:05

doctors .. if he really hates it let him pack a bag of his special things and take them, take a bribe (sweet or similar), make it a fun trip

haircuts ... find a mobile hairdresser who will come to the house and get a 'haircut party' going with other children who are better at it .. peer pressure good

face washing .. get him to do it himself

nail cutting .. plonk in front of favourite dvd / programme and just do it

SheSellsSeashellsByTheSeashore Sat 16-Aug-08 10:36:19

doctors she is an emmbarrassment she runs riot and argues with the doctor she has no fear.

hairdresssers my friend does and we stick a dvd on to keep her still. hairwashing she hates she doesnt like the water going on her face. hair brushing is aways a fight as she has v long hair so obv tangles all the time. i often end up threatening to whack her with her with the brush blush or cut off her hair.

she will wash her own face with a face cloth but wont let you do it for her. she does quite a good job though.

nail cutting she makes a bit off a fuss but ultimately will let me do it.

yawningmonster Sat 16-Aug-08 10:42:19

twig have tried that and there is no bribe or fun things have worked so far

haven't a mobile hairdresser who would consider coming out here and got onto the hairdresser with the dog by going with his mate who is a star at haircuts...have tried him watching dh get one too

face wash nope he just won't, always give him choice he can do it or I will, NOBODY EVER LEAVE IT I LIKE IT DIRTY!!

nail cutting only works in sleep, not really a tv/dvd kind of kid, gets bored very easily and def not enough of a bribe for something like nails.

shesells thank you another in the same position

callandermum Sat 16-Aug-08 10:52:42

Just out of curiosity, what is your reaction to these issues? Are you indulging in some child frightening without realising? I am hopelessly Victorian in my attitude to my ridiculously stubborn 4yr old's refusal to do things, eg am very dismissive. I don't indulge her fears and find that comparisions with her favourite peer/ tv character occasionally work. Honesty also helps- yes this trip to the docs will hurt and you are allowed to be scared but I am here to make sure that you are ok.

I am having issues re swimming with my daughter after a bad experience handled worse by DH and it is trust that is the issue. She doesn't trust me to keep her safe after being promised to be kept safe and nearly drowning with her dad (I apologise for the poor english there!). I acknowledge her fears but insist that she has to try (we live by a river and so there is a need for her to learn). Irrational fears cannot be pandered to and rational fears need to be explained intelligently away for trust to be built up.

The sense of achievement for the child can be greater if they have been scared in the outset. You have to insist sometimes even though you are concerned that it is detrimental. Their confidence will grow with each achievement. Am not an Ed. Psychcologist but am a teacher and control and trust are two big issues for kids.

Oh and some not textbook advise- if in doubt, bribe them!!

yawningmonster Sat 16-Aug-08 11:04:00

with the doctor one, I generally say "this is something we need to see the doctor about" he will kick off and I tell calmly but firmly "I can hear you don't want to go, I am your mum and my job is to make sure you are ok, for this I need the doctors help" Then just repeat "I
know you want to stay here, we are going to the doctor" We are always honest with him. Have tried books etc but he doesn't really watch tv so characters mean little to him. With the others dh and I have agreed on what the minimum we are ok with is and we don't move from that minimum eg hair wash once a week, hair kept fairly short for above reasons etc...not sure if this is pandering or not, I am a bit of a softee but stand firm when needed

callandermum Sat 16-Aug-08 11:36:08

Sounds like you are saying all the right things. I suppose it's just about being consistant in all decision making processes. You can include DS in some of them and then remember that it is not a democracy in a family, especially when the LO is 5! You wouldn't negociate about meals so why about bathing/ visiting places.

This said- my DD is such hard work and would argue about anything. It's soooo hard being a parent! You are the boss though wink

onwardandupward Sat 16-Aug-08 12:17:00

THere's some great advice upthread.

doctors (And dentists actually) - the Wiggles, Top of the Tots. There is a doctor sequence and a dentist sequence in amongst the other songs. Then you just wear the right kit for going to the real dentist and voila. Otherwise, the bag of favourite toys is one good idea. Portable DVD player is another


Haircuts: yes, hairdresser at home. Or just be in the bath with him and give it a trim while he's busy playing at the deep end? Minimal faffing and brushing, just a quick snip (much easier with longer girls' hair, of course). Brushing - if it's short enough, it doesn't need it! washing - don't bother? The natural oils quickly rebalance themselves, and just a rinse with water is enough. And that can be made fun grin

face washing: who? wink

nail cutting: while asleep is good. Once a child is showing an interest in a long nail, you can offer to trim it and back off if they say no thank you. In the end they'll be asking for nails to be trimmed, and it's perfectly possible to get to that stage without ever pinning child down against their will.

In all of this (and I speak from bitter experience blush ) I think that adult anxiety over whether child will be distressed feeds into the child's distress. You can kind of ratchet each other up. So perhaps approaching any of the non-life-threatening things on your list of anxieties with the philosophy that if the hair doesn't get washed today it's not the end of the world, then you might be able to relax enough to help your child relax, or else to be able to back off without the thing becoming an issue?

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