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4yo DS completely freaking out over hair washing

(19 Posts)
KanyesVest Thu 09-Jun-16 19:01:04

Ds is almost 4 and has always been fine about washing his hair. Until about 3 months ago when over night, for no apparent reason, he started freaking out completely.

He's fine for the wetting (which we do with a flannel) and shampoo, but rinsing it is impossible. I try to avoid washing it at this stage, just give it a bit of a rub with a wet flannel every few days, but sunscreen, and a sweaty hat head mean it needs to be cleaned properly once a week or so. We've tried face cloths over eyes, special spiderman goggles, youtube videos, a book, doing it himself, many different water vessels... He's still a sobbing, screaming wreck after I've pinned him down for dh to rinse him off. If he let me do it, it would take about 5 seconds confused

Has anyone any amazing tips to minimise the trauma?

haventgotaclue1 Thu 09-Jun-16 20:23:06

Currently going through exactly the same thing with 18mo DD - she was absolutely fine until about 2 weeks ago, now you'd think we were doing some sort of bodily harm to her hmm

The last 2 times we've washed her hair have been slightly better as she's been in the bath with DH and I pour the cup of water over his head and then do the same over hers - it's a "one cup of water for Daddy, one cup of water for babyhavent" saga....seems to work though - got to the stage tonight where she was snatching the cup from me to our it over DH's head!

I'm hoping it's just (another) phase...

nilbyname Thu 09-Jun-16 20:29:13

I used to get in the bath with mine and we would wash each other's hair, I called them mermaid/men showers and have them lay down in the bath in their backs with their head back while I sang to them 'mer maid merman' in a funny voice and slide them back and forth. Sounds weird but they liked it! Git their hair all wet and clean with zero splashing around their face.

Umblubblub Thu 09-Jun-16 20:31:28

Same with my DS, he's 4 and screams like a banshee every time I wash his hair. He's happy to put his face underwater when swimming, or even in the shower but as soon as its hair wash time he unleashes the Rage! No advice really, just sympathy wink

Believeitornot Thu 09-Jun-16 20:31:57

I would stop pinning him down.

Do you have a shower attachment? Try using the shower and talking very slowly to him. It isn't nice having your hair washed by someone else unless you're at the hairdressers! Get him to look at the ceiling and start from the base of his head.

KanyesVest Thu 09-Jun-16 20:49:37

Have done all that, believeitornot and none of it has worked. We have established that he hates the shower attachment, which is why we have tried the empty bubble bath bottle, the tea cups and the boat he loves to play with in the bath, all of which cause sobbing when they come near his head. He won't lift his head up for rinsing at all, so it's incredibly difficult to avoid water in his face. Although like Junior Um he'll quite happily have water everywhere in the swimming pool.

I got some of the back of his head rinsed with squeezing a flannel over it this evening while talking to him and pretending to wash his back, but once he cottoned on, he flipped out. He was standing up, thrashing around and screaming, so to avoid him falling and hurting himself, I just had to hold him while Dh rinsed for less than 20 seconds and it was over.

Maybe I'll try getting in with him, or the shower. He usually baths with his sister and I won't fit in to. That or make sure we go swimming every Sunday instead of a bath!

Believeitornot Thu 09-Jun-16 20:51:44

Why doesn't he like the shower? Is it very powerful?

I have to tell ds explicitly to look at the ceiling and do it in very small steps and reassure him it's fine.

Maybe rinse his hair a little every bath time and stop after a few secs to build his confidence?

another option is to have a very shallow bath and have him lie on his back. Would that work?

RayofSun Thu 09-Jun-16 20:52:04

My son was like this for a long time. We resorted to warring swimming goggles for hair washes. It appears to be a bizarrely effective 'security blanket'!

LyndaNotLinda Thu 09-Jun-16 20:53:32

If he'll lie down in the bath, I'd go with no bubble bath and just wash his hair first and he rinses it by lying down just meaning you have to do the front.

Then you can wash the rest of him with a flannel/add some bubbles to the bath if you want

ricketytickety Thu 09-Jun-16 20:55:32

Just stop trying for now. He's got into a cycle of not wanting it, him knowing you are going to make him have it done, then getting upset. You have to break the cycle. Stop washing his hair. Then, when he's ready, get him to take full control and do it himself. Make a big deal of sniffing washed hair and saying it smells nice etc but don't directly tell him it's happening to him. Let him take control of it. maybe let him rinse shampoo out of your hair or his sister's hair if she's up for it!

Anything could have set it off from soap in eyes to someone at school saying something to him about the possibility of soap in eyes.

KanyesVest Thu 09-Jun-16 21:09:56

Nope, shower is perfectly normal. He loves it unless it's pointing at his hair, like every other bloody thing in the bathroom. He won't lie on his back, either in the bath or swimming pool, so that hasn't worked. He will happily drown wash dd's hair for her and cheers happily when she's having hers done (she's relishing the "big sister teacher" role!) Spiderman goggles are a great hit in the paddling pool, caused tears in the bath.

Even with the sweaty, suncreamy hair I would consider leaving it a couple of weeks, but he also hates his hair being matted and knotty, so it's a lose-lose sad -And, selfishly, it's dd's birthday party on Saturday and I really want a nice family photo

KanyesVest Thu 09-Jun-16 21:14:39

God, I'm not as bad as that, I really want him to get over this, not just have a nice photo blush

FrozenAteMyDaughter Thu 09-Jun-16 21:18:15

Dd was the same so we went swimming a lot for a while. She would go in the shower there and we could get one shampoo and rinse in.

At one point I even resorted to doing it backwards over the edge of the bath like at the hairdtesser. Bit back breaking but might be better over a large basin if you have one.

It was a phase though and it does pass. Now she is 6, she showers. Much easier.

UniversalTruth Thu 09-Jun-16 21:26:07

Have you tried the visor thing they sell in Boots? Says for babies on it but fits our 3yo and means he lets us wash his hair although he still cries until it's over!

KanyesVest Thu 09-Jun-16 22:14:21

Visor! Great idea! I had totally forgotten they existed. I've just had a flashback to my baby cousin using one of them a million years ago. Off to boots tomorrow. <hopes the ridiculously giant head will fit in it>

Moogletea Thu 09-Jun-16 22:26:22

We use one of these. Cheap as chips and do the job

UniversalTruth Thu 09-Jun-16 22:59:26

We have also had some success with the munchkin flexible jug which I think Boots might also sell (other high street chemists are available grin)

ExAstris Sun 12-Jun-16 21:45:38

Have you tried rinsing the shampoo with the flannel, since he will tolerate that for wetting? That's been our last resort with DS1 who has been hysterical over hairwashing since... forever. I left hairwashes completely for a bit, then got him used to gradually increasingly wet flannels wiped on his hair, then started using tiny bits of a shampoo I knew would wash out fairly easily. Now he leans his head back with a dry flannel held over his eyes and I use a sopping wet flannel to rinse, but it's taken months to build to that. He is still a little distressed, but doesn't cry or freak out, so we can tolerate that once a week.

Chrisinthemorning Sun 12-Jun-16 21:52:00

Kids snorkelling mask from home bargains. Hold it over his eyes/ nose with strap held forward, or even better get him to hold it on. Works for DS (4) as no soap/ water in eyes or nose.

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