So you just had a baby. You are making sure that your sweet little bundle is comfortable at all times. While that may seem like the right thing to do in most circumstances, it can be detrimental in other circumstances. Especially when those tiny cherubs turn into toddlers! If you have any friends with older children, then you know the awfulness that surrounds washing a toddlers hair. They often scream, cry, and throw all out fits during the process. This is mainly due to how gentle you were when they were infants to not get water in their eyes. While you may think this was the right approach, I can assure you it’s not.
Now I am not telling you by any means to dump water in your child‘s face. Simply take a wash cloth or even your hand, and drip water over their face during every bath. Make it fun when you do it by either by adding a noise like “Wee”, or laughing to let your child know that it is okay. After all, they are following your cues. When your infant has had water drip on their face their whole life, when they become a toddler their will be no reason for them to flinch when you are washing their hair. My toddler is about to be two in a few weeks, she loves to go under water, and often dumps the bath cup on her head herself because she loves it.
Do you already have a toddler and did not do this and now they are petrified of washing their hair or water in their eyes? There are a couple of things you can try. You can attempt to recondition them while they are in the tub. You can use the wash cloth trick with water only to show them it does not hurt and there is nothing to be afraid of. You can try getting in the tub with them and doing it to yourself to show them it’s funny, not scary. Or if all else fails and it is just an uphill battle not worth fighting, give them a washcloth or towel to hold over their eyes while washing their hair. This will provide them with a sense of security and make their tears subside.
When I came into my 5 year old step-daughters life she was 2. She was extremely terrified of any water, especially the bath tub. It took a few weeks of pushing through and showing her that I would never hurt her. Eventually she started to calm down in the tub. Once she had calmed, and her fears of the water were subsiding I attempted to start lightly letting plain water drip on her face. Just a little, and very gently. After a while, she too has now overcome the fear of water in her face and is a regular fish. She loves to go swimming now, and will even dunk her own head in the water. This is a major accomplishment in my life as a step-mom, and one I will cherish.
Washing your toddlers hair does not have to be torture, make it fun again and try these ideas! I know it sounds scary because at first your child may cry and you may think you are hurting them. But trust me in the long run it will benefit both of you. If you try it let me know how it works for you!