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Can anyone help with hairwashing phobia??

(33 Posts)
skewputt Mon 20-Oct-08 21:50:30

DD (nearly 4) is terrified of getting her hair washed, or her face/ ears wet at all. I think this stems from a couple of years ago when she was getting her hair washed in the bath with the showerhead and the pipe pushed the tap round so that the water suddenly became hotter - she wasn't burned but it gave her a fright. Although she has always been unhappy about having her hair washed well before that point, it's now got to the stage where as soon as I (gently) suggest it she starts practically hyperventilating and it's making us both miserable.

I try to attempt it as infrequently as possible but she's so grubby and constantly getting food in her hair. I've tried everything - encouraging her to do it herself, putting a facecloth over her eyes, using a sponge or cup to rinse, making it into a game, bribing her with sparkly hair clasps blush but I'm getting nowhere, she always ends up panicking. Any advice gratefully received!!

saffiw Mon 20-Oct-08 21:53:13

what about lying her on the draining board with her head dipping so that you can wash her hair without getting her wet, not only that it would be a new experience for her.

AttillaTheHan Mon 20-Oct-08 21:55:06

How about you get in the bath with her and she washes your hair for you. Then just have fun splashing each other etc. With ds now 4 1/2 we started like this then went on to him using a damp face cloth on his hair. He now sits fairly happily whilst I pour water on his head.
Sorry I have no other advice. I would say you are on the right tracks by making it fun, I would try your best not to rush it though. I'm sure she'll get used to it again..

CuppaTeaJanice Mon 20-Oct-08 21:55:50

You used to be able to get a foam ring that went around the hairline so soap & water didn't get ito the eyes.

skewputt Mon 20-Oct-08 22:02:13

Thanks all. I love the draining board idea grin. Unfortunately as soon as she realises it is anything remotely hair-wash orientated she will lose the plot entirely. At the moment I just give the occasional swipe with a damp cloth whilst playing in the bath and she puts up with this (thankfully she's got short, fine hair) but anything more and I face a meltdown - I would no way get one of those rings on her, I have tried!

jamsandwich Mon 20-Oct-08 22:04:06

Just the same problem here. Last night it reached such a peak I said "shall we cut it all off?" and DD, aged 3, already beside herself following the dreaded hairwash said "yes" so I'm afraid I just hacked at it with scissors. Now a pretty decent bob, even if i do say so myself - she's never had it cut before as I was terrified of what she would do in a hairdressers and didn't think i could do it myself.
Both agree it looks much better and it's definitely much quicker and easier to wash/ brush. Bit drastic though.
Otherwise, I call DH in so he can sing songs/ tell her favourite stories while i do the deed.
The shampoo visor thing that Cuppatea mentioned worked fine until she took against it - really kept bubbles out of her eyes, but she just hates any type of hat. And we only do it every 10 days or so now.
Thanks God she's only had nits once - it's no fun trying to do the wet combing with someone who's phobic about all types of hair care!

thornrose Mon 20-Oct-08 22:10:08

My dd is 9yo and has had a lifelong fear of water on her face and hair washing has always been a nightmare.
We are starting to crack it! We have a really small (ELC)chair which is the same height as the bath so she can sit with her head back over the bath side and avoid water on her face.
Also, more recently I discovered that if I talk constantly in silly voices and preferably involve some role play it helps. I ask her to choose the characters in advance and we pretend she's someone else having their hair washed. Sounds weird but it really takes her mind off it!

skewputt Mon 20-Oct-08 22:27:38

Best get practising my silly voices/ songs then! DD already has a short bob as she is no trouble in the hairdresser - doesn't involve water - but now I have the problem that her fringe is getting in her eyes so I need to take her to get it cut but I'm too mortified to take her with unidentified bits of goo in her hair grin

Might swimming help? I've put her on a waiting list for lessons in the hope that she might be encouraged to get her face wet in a different situation. She enjoys going to the pool with me but desperately cranes her neck to avoid water at all times and freaks out if accidentally gets splashed. I don't try and confront the issue, definitely don't want to put her off.

MadamDeathstare Mon 20-Oct-08 22:30:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

jnmum Mon 20-Oct-08 22:42:07

my son (5) is the same. He hates getting his hair washed. So I wash it max once a week blush. I hold a towel over his face, pour a cup which is water mixed with a little bit of shampoo in it, rub it in and then wipe it off with a wet flannel! bit of a palava, and as he hates it sometimes its once a fortnight!

chipmunkswhereareyou Mon 20-Oct-08 22:44:08

For a while I thought I'd cracked it with ds but alas he's reverted to a full on meltdown every time.

We only wash it once every 10 days or so as he doesn't tend to wipe food in his hair etc.

He hates the water going in his ears or eyes. At the moment we have the visor plus a pair of swimming goggles going on which at least limited his meltdown last time.

How on earth am I ever going to get him to go swimming properly??

chipmunkswhereareyou Mon 20-Oct-08 22:44:47

Oh another thing which helped slightly and might work for a dd is to blow dry her hair into a cool style afterwards. He quite likes it if I make it stick up spikily at the front!

skewputt Mon 20-Oct-08 22:57:20

Thanks - might look into the tap lock idea but it seems more to be just the water on her face that upsets her now - I don't know that she consciously remembers the hot water incident.

I would say once every ten days is reasonable, you've got to think about everyone's sanity!

Chipmunks - lol at your ds in visor and goggles. He needs a snorkel and flippers too I think grin. I've been tying the whole "wow your hair is so lovely and shiny" etc etc and giving her some blow dry pampering which she does enjoy but is not enough of an incentive unfortunately. Fingers crossed the swimming instructor will be understanding about the whole thing - when she eventually gets a place. Lessons at our local pool have up to a year's waiting list. Don't know if this is normal but I was a bit shock

MrsPurple Mon 20-Oct-08 22:59:40

My DD is the same, I've tried everything from promising blowing bubbles after,but we have hysterics the whole time. Unfortunately she has very thick hair (I keep it in a bob), but she's only 3 and tends to get it in her hair. She's started swimming lessons and is ok when she's allowed to pour water over her hair (not face), but last week became very upset when they made her jump in (and she went under),to the point where her swimming nappy (for precaution) was used (enough said).

chipmunkswhereareyou Mon 20-Oct-08 23:15:09

Skew - he does look really ridiculous - but at least looking at himself in the mirror in that garb makes him laugh a bit (before the pre-hairwash crying starts again)!

It's so draining that even if I wanted to I couldn't face it more than every 10 days (and I confess sometimes we get to 2 weeks blush between washes).

strawberrycornetto Tue 21-Oct-08 21:09:51

My DD is the same age and was pretty much the same. She is incredibly easy to bribe with chocolate though so in the end we managed with a combination of sticker chart for a my little pony and a little box of mini smarties immediately after her bath. I know its bad parenting but it does seem to work with her, we finally potty trained her in one day with the bribe of a milky way!!

MrsPurple - lol at the swimming nappy incident grin

girlandboy Tue 21-Oct-08 21:14:02

Must have done ds's hair just with a soapy flannel for about 2 years. It ended up as just an extension of having his face washed really.
No copious amounts of water, literally just a warm soapy flannel rubbed over hair, wrung out and a damp flannel to finish.

He's absolutely fine now.

harpomarx Tue 21-Oct-08 21:21:31

I would actually try washing it as much as possible rather than as little. Dd has very thick curly long hair and it needs rinsing and conditioning every few days. She has been having this done since very little and suffers it remarkably well now (she is 4 btw)... There are complaints every now and then and she hates water on her face and eyes too but she just accepts it's got to be done.

I hope that didn't sound smug - all I am trying to say is that perhaps by putting it off as much as possible you are all getting stressed about it?

Sibble Tue 21-Oct-08 21:28:44

not much help if water on the face a problem but swimming goggles for hair washing did the trick with both my ds's. with ds2 at the moment who is also 4 he rinses his hair himself, rather messy but works.

kitbit Tue 21-Oct-08 21:32:30

What about just going swimming? Then she'll already be wet and you can just pile in the shower afterwards?

scrappydappydoo Tue 21-Oct-08 21:40:50

No used it myself but would this help??

Marne Tue 21-Oct-08 21:42:55

We used to put swimming goggles on dd1, now she will let me put a towel over her eyes and poor water over her head whilst she looks up high.

frisbyrat Tue 21-Oct-08 21:48:42

I run a very shallow bath for dd, and get her to lie on her back, listening to how weird different things sound when her ears are just underwater! While she's distracted by dh making odd noises, tapping on side of bath to make underwater bonging noises, etc, I can usually use a beaker to wet hair, shampoo and rinse at the front where the water doesn't reach.

MadameCastafiore Tue 21-Oct-08 21:49:57

Send her to swimming lessons where the instructor takes her in without you - they will gently encourage her to put her ears and then her whole face and then her head in the water.

skewputt Tue 21-Oct-08 21:52:24

Thanks for all the tips, I like the look of that jug thing - anything's worth a try! Getting water near dd's ears is a big issue so may need waterproof earmuffs as well as goggles. DD will be getting into a competition with chipmunks' ds to see who can have the most hairwashing equipment in the bath grin

Harpomarx, I think you're right. But when it's is so traumatic, at the end of a long day it is the last thing any of us can face. So much eastier to put it off till the next night!

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