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Please help - just had HORRENDOUS bathtime (hair washing) we are all traumatised

(39 Posts)
blissieblue Thu 09-Oct-08 18:57:25

Both DS's (18 months and 3.6) hate having their hair washed. I hardly ever do it for this reason but they're having their photo taken tomorrow and it was looking a bit yucky. DS2 I managed without too much upset by wrapping him in a towel and holding him across my knee, over the bath and then washing hair being very careful not to let any water / soap on his face.

DS1 bigger and a lot stronger. We tried sweet talking him in to it (worked a few months ago and he was completely happy having it washed for a while) but then we decided force was necessary. Tried same tactic as with DS2 but ended up with bathroom floor flooded, shower screen half kicked to bits, DS2 frightened and sobbing his heart out and DH and I shaken and feeling like very bad parents indeed.

It was a disaster and not how it should have been handled but I'm at a loss. I don't have the energy and patience to negotiate endlessly with a 3 year old just so we can get basic tasks done (it's not just hair washing...)

thisisyesterday Thu 09-Oct-08 19:05:19

my 3.8 yr old hates having his done too.

I have decided that the forceful route is counter productive. it gets it done, but it makes it even more scary for them next time.

we now do the following and it is improving:

making him look up, so that I can tip the water over his head without it gpoing in eyes. to start with I'd shout "a bird on the shower" and quickly do it while he was looking up.

he is in charge of water in ears. he has to cover his ears with his hands, or stick his fingers in.

I hold a flannel over his eyes so it doesn't go in his eyes.

distraction- ask him if he can feel the water falling all down his back. keep checking he is doing a good "ear" job. tell him how many more cupfuls there are to go. ask him if his hair is feeling cleaner

blissieblue Thu 09-Oct-08 19:09:58

asking him to look up worked for a while, as did holding flannel over his eyes. I even managed to get him to lie with head back in water, singing twinkle twinkle (he does this at swimming pool no problem!) but he's suddenly decided he is terrified again.

fymandbean Thu 09-Oct-08 19:14:42

use a hair washing ring - you can get them from tescos....keeps all soap and water out of eyes.

choufleur Thu 09-Oct-08 19:17:18

We've got ds some goggles for the bath just to wash his hair. do the same as thisis yesterday get him to look up and hold a flannel over his eyes (now over the goggles!)

nobodysfool Thu 09-Oct-08 19:18:24

I really feels for you.Our ds used to scream blue murder and fight and kick and scream some more.The neighbours must have thought we were washing him in acid the fuss he caused but this is the only way it get does with no tears or screaming in our house.
I don't use a jug to rinse ds (3 years) hair.
Always done in the bath sitting down.
I wet his hair with a flannel whilst putting my other hand across his forehead so it looks like a visor.
Shampoo, then rinse with the flannel over and over again till it's soap free, it takes longer but he doesn't get 'flooded' with water from a jug or hose attachment.
I also get him to look up-we have spot lights and i tell him to keep looking as they might change colour.

FiendishFairyFay Thu 09-Oct-08 19:20:59

We have shampoo rinse cup which helps, but is not a perfect solution.

AccidentalMum Thu 09-Oct-08 19:41:26

Would he come in the shower with you?

blissieblue Thu 09-Oct-08 20:05:02

thanks for the suggestions - will try the goggles and hair washing ring - probably both at the same time. Agree force is not the way in the future.

He doesn't mind the shower but still freaks out at the suggestion of having hair washed, even though he's never had soap in his eyes as far as we can remember. Awkward - that's what he is!

hazeyjane Thu 09-Oct-08 20:21:01

Our dd1 (2.6) hates hair wash, and it has become such a nightmare, her hair is quite long, and we have tried, goggles, hair wash ring, distracting, a mirror so she can see what is happening and she hates showers. We try to avoid washing her hair for as long as possible, but sometimes it can't be avoided (like when she tipped a bucket of dirt on her head!), and then it is like having a wet,slippery animal in the bath, she kicks and screams so much that water goes everywhere and she ends up a shivering, sobbing wreck. I feel so horrible, and she usually spends less than a minute in the bath, because she is so scared we are going to wash her hair.

If anyone has any other suggestions I too would be very grateful, otherwise we are going to have to get her hair cut short, to make the whole thing a lot less traumatic!

tissy Thu 09-Oct-08 20:27:09

dd used to hate having her hair washed this is what we did:

wet hair with flannel- doesn't have to be sopping wet, so you don't need to drip any water into eyes

use a TINY amount of shampoo, rub your hands together, then massage head with hands. Again, no drips.

Wipe hair with flannel to remove any bubbles. Rinse flannel out in clean water, wipe again, rinse flannel again, wipe again, repeat until all the shampoo is gone

with this virtually water-free method, it's easy to avoid water running into eyes.

BarcodeZebra Thu 09-Oct-08 20:33:04

The shampoo rinse cup was the saving of us. DD1 now 3.6 used to howl like a banshee at hair washing time. We discovered something else though. You don't need shampoo. DD2 (1.1) has excema so we don't use any soap on her at all and never have. Her hair is lovely so we stopped using shampoo on DD1 about a month ago and, although she went though a bit of a greasy week her hair is now absolutely beautiful and shiny. We give it a good rinse about twice a week but apart from that no shampoo.

Gettingbiggernow Thu 09-Oct-08 20:35:40

Sorry if this is too obvious: Give DCs a small hand-towel to hold so they are in control of dabbing water etc out of eyes should any go in. (this is when they are sat in bath with you using jug).

DwayneDibbley Thu 09-Oct-08 20:36:24

Message withdrawn

nooka Thu 09-Oct-08 20:37:12

I'd get her hair cut too. dd had longish hair and we were always getting into fights about brushing it (she was OK with washing). Then she made friends with someone with short hair, and decided to have a bob. It looks very pretty now, and it's so much easier to care for, so it looks nicer for longer (it has this amazing capacity to turn into a haystack!) We have told her she can only grow it when she is old enough to look after it properly on her own.

OP you may find it easier if you use the flannel method, and do it pretty much every bath time. We used to use one of those all over bath washes, and clean their hair at the same time as everything else, which made the hair less traumatic, as it wasn't a special event. It may only work for fine hair though. It helps to be very matter of fact about it. ds used to tantrum like that about getting into the bath (and occasionally also if we said he couldn't have a bath hmm). Very exhausting all round. I hoe it gets better for you.

DwayneDibbley Thu 09-Oct-08 20:37:15

Message withdrawn

rosiejoy Thu 09-Oct-08 20:47:55

we do it the same way as tissy and never had any problems. to rinse i get ds to lie back in the bath so you actually only need to use the flannel on a small bit of the head then. so far its worked for us because he trusts me to be quick and gentle- as im wiping the shampoo out i point out to him that im being gentle, 'nearly done' etc. maybe you could try this with your younger child first whilst the older one watches? then when he sees what youre going to do and that its really ok maybe he will be more relaxed about it? ds has his hair fairly short though so does make it easier, and dd is only 9months so not masses of hair long do your dcs have their hair? if its quite short really doesnt need a lot of attention imo

trumpetgirl Thu 09-Oct-08 20:49:35

I had problems with DD when she was younger. I was always under the impression that she was worried about water getting in her eyes, but it turned out that she didn't like the feeling of water being in her ears... which I hadn't even considered!
Now she puts her fingers in her ears and all is well!

rosiejoy Thu 09-Oct-08 20:51:18

aha, a few posts occurred whilst i was typing! dwayne dibbley put it a lot better than me too! ideas for you to try though, you have my sympathies, i have major guilt every time i have to attack ds nose with a tissue!

hazeyjane Thu 09-Oct-08 20:55:19

We have tried the flannel thing with dd, but she gets so freaked out if we even get near her hair, that even that sends her kicking and screaming out of the bath, which is pretty scary for her 16 month old sister who she shares a bath with. We even have to do dd2s hair (which is short, and which we do using the flannel method) when dd1 is out of the room, because it upsets her so much and she thinks we will wash hers next.

Maybe short is the way to go, I hate that every time we have to wash it, it just makes bathtimes more scary for her.

Sorry if i hijacked your thread a bit blissieblue, but it's nice to know its not just our dd!

blissieblue Thu 09-Oct-08 21:22:24

Hazeyjane - same thing going on in our house! DS1 terrifying DS2 and making them both awful. They both have short'ish hair and we get away with infrequent hair washing but sometimes it just has to be done.
Lots of ideas here - will try them all
Thank you

robbierotten Thu 09-Oct-08 22:02:03

Message withdrawn

feedthegoat Thu 09-Oct-08 22:12:03

Oh dear I've been there too. Pouring a jug of water on my lathered up DS when I'd reached end of tether is my most guilt inducing parenting moment and i still cringe thinking about it. i tried most of these tactics. goggles and shampoo ring were ripped off. Towels were flung and the shampoo rinsing jug didn't work either. Neither did getting in the bath with him. Eventually after many months he now makes a game out of covering his own eyes and gets a sticker. Is so pleased with himself he sometimes asks to have it washed. I never thought I'd see the day! Using shower helped too because he felt grown up.

fymandbean Thu 09-Oct-08 22:20:38

ah hah this is it

also this 5010320

specialmagiclady Thu 09-Oct-08 22:23:41

We do sticky up hair with the shampoo on, and looking in the mirror so there's at least some fun stuff in the middle.

Also, regular hair wash night. Every Sunday in our house. You could even start by washing every day for a bit so they're used to it, then cut down gradually to a more acceptable level.

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