Sunday, 28 August 2011

Washing children's hair

Image from here
I will admit it. I loathe having to wash the children's hair. It is a nightmare! They all freak out. No-one follows the instructions we give them and it always ends in tears. We used to do it twice a week, but all the angst has us weaned down to Sunday nights only. We dread it.

Over the years we have tried many different approaches to hair washing. The flannel-over-the-eyes with a jug of water poured gently over the hair, the "look up at the ceiling" with a jug of water poured gently over the hair, the self-catered post scrub dunk, and, most recently, the 'lay back' where the child lies down throughout the ordeal  task.

None of them has worked, although the Geege has had marginally more success than I have so it is now his job (I am devastated!).

Doo Dah is the worst hair washer known to Humankind. He gets suds in his eyes no matter which technique we try. He always freaks in the middle of the 'rinse' phase, moves and cops a whole jug of water and suds in his eyes. He is beginning to rebel any time the words "hair wash night" are uttered by us.

Nugget USED to be the worst hair washer but admittedly, he has really improved with age. He is thriving with the lay back.

The Minx rarely lets us touch her hair (even though it looks like a Pantene commercial all the time) but she is quite partial to a hair wash. Provided you get all the suds out with one jug of water because she refuses to allow any further attempts. You don't question the Minx. If she says no, only the brave would cross her.

Dew Drop is improving with his tolerance but he has been known to over-shampoo and refuse to rinse. Ever seen a hair full of congealed shampoo?

See? Three out of four of our children are walking the streets with residual shampoo in their hair. We are failing the washing children's hair module of parenting. Can you help? What has worked for you and yours? Or is it just as disastrous at your place?

28 comments:

Hespera's Garden said...

HAHAHA!! I could have written your post except for the bit about 4 kids...,

I have a DD with hair down to the small of her back. It is long and beautiful and washing it is an ordeal.

We are also a Sunday Night wash. Though I have now gotten lazy and often just give her a bath with copious amounts of bath wash and ask her to wet her hair. Figure that will do.

We have done the jug with face washer, looking at the light bulb... shower... But I can't get her to lay down in the water because she is scared witless. Not fun.

Hopefully we will get there!

Sarah said...

Sunday night washers here too. Loathe it. Though apparently not as much as my children.

Michele said...

I only have 2 children so my life might be a bit less complicated but both our children do swimming classes and that helps with reducing fear in water.

My son (3) however still doesnt cope well with water in his eyes and showers are a bit of a battle. He asked if he could wear his sunglasses and I allowed him to wear his goggles. Problem solved. Does complicate hair washing a bit (he has short hair too) but you might like to try something like that???

Life In A Pink Fibro said...

We do it twice a week. We're very firm in our approach. Close your eyes or cop a faceful of water. It works for us. It's head back and don't move til it's over. I'm quite ruthless in getting it done and dusted in about 30 seconds. It may not be the most thorough approach, but it's consistent... (and, yes, our children will no doubt be traumatised for life...)

Dorothy said...

My boys go through stages when they either loathe and carry on when I wash their hair, or cooperate with no dramas. When they were younger and they would start with the carry one, I began to wash their hair more often, telling them that if they carry on like this, they obviously need more practice, or I do.

Another strategy which sometimes worked was - you either cooperate or I just do it anyway and you end up with suds and water on your face.

I used to hate it with a passion, too. Now that they're 5 and 8, it's not so bad. If they make a fuss, I might postpone in for day, or just do it anyway. Being a sole parent, I think, has made me more immune to their carry-ons and they know that, most of the time, the dramatics have no effect on me, so they just succumb to the inevitable...

Tat said...

Michele, goggles, what a great idea!

We don't really have any problem with washing hairs and we do it every second day (well, I'm a bit more slack than my husband in that department, so I might let them go for an extra day or two). We have showers, the kids play and they hardly know that their hairs are being washed. It also helps that we are using a very mild wash - the QV kids wash. The kids usually notice any attempts to change the shampoo, so it mus make a difference. Even if they get bubbles in their eyes, they get over it quickly.

therhythmmethod said...

We're firm. Jug, face washer, twice a week. It just seems to work. No negotiations are entered into.
Maybe you could try a different shampoo and tell them it won't hurt?

ZippyZippy said...

We have not really had any issues with the hair washing usually gets washed about every 3 days. It's just something that has to be done - so they just get on with it. Mr 7 and 8 do their own in the shower - they feel very responsible and grown up, however, we probably go through too much shampoo! Mr 5 lays down in the bath, I still do his hair.
What gets under my skin is all the silly going on after the shower - naked stupid boys stuff!

Posie Patchwork said...

OMG, really, yet another easy ride for me with my 4 under 5. From the start, we just did the gentle organic baby shampoo & plonked buckets of water over their heads, nothing, no reaction, they loved it. Or they'd just go under the water in the bath & woosh the shampoo out, i guess from 4 months, they love being under water.
I still condition my 10y.o. hair as it's waist length & needs precision combing, but i love it, we chat, it takes forever, but she loves pampering. Today we ran out of hot water but the princess that she is chose clean hair & froze instead as i rinsed her hair (it was so cold).
Have you tried the shower?? Oh boy, i had no idea i had life so easy, this is why i was never popular at any mother group style event, i had sleepers, feeders, they never got sick & clearly, didn't hate having their hair washed. Love Posie

Posie Patchwork said...

Oh i liked what Zippy Zippy said, we'd have children running around naked for ages after a shower or bath, oh well, saves on towels & washing, love Posie

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

Our Baby B must be part fish. She doesn't seem to care if there is soap, water, a bathtub turtle...right on her face and in her eyes.

Baby A, on the other hand, doesn't like her face to get wet. :(

I bought this rubberized cup that lays flat against her forehead so I can pour back over her hair. Still, she has to look up at the ceiling for it to work very well, and that doesn't always happen.

We manage at our house...but even with B, bathtime is not "fun time". It's a business proposition, in and out. I have fun memories from playing in the tub when I was a kiddo...and I hope my girls might have that some day. Just not now. :)

Glad to know we're not the only ones who don't relish bath night!

Toni said...

I've only JUST managed to get my 6 yo Princess to co-operate.
She used to HATE the water going in her ears, I guess it just tickled too much?
But she loves having soft pretty hair now (vain child) so she puts up with the discomfort.

Mama of 2 boys said...

Haha this is very funny, great post... though I do understand your pain. We go through phases here. Mr3 isn't a fan anymore, he used to be fine with it, but something changed and now it's a bit of a big deal. Though I think I'm a bit of a cruel hair washer, as I just tip the bowl of water straight onto the noggin of both my boys, do the shampoo thing and rinse the same way... straight over the noggin. I've taught Mr3 to just close his eyes for the duration, so we don't have too many outbursts... it's mainly the talk of a hair wash that causes the trouble. I can remember kicking up a fuss as a child and my friend next door was a classic. We all used to joke that it must be hair washing night as we'd hear her screaming the house down whenever she was having it washed. Kids and hair! xo

Julia said...

We used to have hair washing woes in our house--the I purchased this thing called the Lil' Rinser.

LOVE that thing! It forms a seal around their head, so no water gets in their ears or their eyes. I just hold the Lil' Rinser in place and dump the water over their hair. The girls can be looking up or down or any which way they want. Works like a charm--I'd recommend it to anyone!

1000 Homes of Happiness said...

Ahhh, we have the same problems in our little home. I have now given up and agree..hubby has more success getting the job done than I do. I loathe it! We aim for twice a week and I go with the look up at the ceiling approach....you put your head down and you get suds in your eyes. Works on the twinnines but little Bloss is oblivious to any sort of instructions right now. xoxox

It always ends in tears. xoxox

A Christy Production said...

Tried a hose attachment onto the tap itself? More control over the flow to protect sensitive little eyes and temperaments :)

Diminishing Lucy said...

Thank the goddesses above for my lovely husband. he does it every single week (on a Sunday night) whilst I iron school uniforms.

I must ask him how he goes. Stern and no messing about I would imagine - he is heaps tougher than me.

Olivia's hair is thick and long - She has a shower to rinse it all out.

DancingInTheRain said...

1, 2, 3, under! The build up to the big splash works for us!

Tricia said...

Perhaps you could give up on shampoo all together? I've never shampooed my daughters hair. ever.

Every month or so I wash her hair with bicarb by dusting on some bicarb, brushing, and then rinsing out. Perhaps you could switch your kids to the 'no poo' method? (google it if you havn't heard of it). In the beginning you would probably have to continue washing (but with bicarb instead of shampoo) every week but after a while you will be able to increase the time between washes as their hair gets used to not having the replenish oils stripped by shampoo. Sounds like the hair washing routine wodn't be missed. and bicarb dosn't sting the eyes.

Photographer Mum said...

We have one of these shower attachment hoses which works quite well with Miss 4 and Mr 3. Miss 4 loves having her hair washed, the boys not so much. Mr 3 tolerates it but you have to be quick. Mr 1 just has to put up with it under force unfortunately, he either gets a jug load on top of him or the shower thing, but he sticks his head over the side of the bath which means the water ends up all over the floor. I am hoping he will improve with age... fingers crossed.

Donna said...

Oh Lordy I am so relieved to hear it is not just me who dreads the bi weekly hair washing event... Any chance I get I palm it off to the husband but he is rarely home at bathtime so I am left to wage the war. And I seriously thought it was just my child who made such a fuss. And while I have no tips for what works I am very grateful to see I'm not alone! x

Megan Blandford said...

We're down to once a week here, too! She used to be so fine with it, would let shampoo run down her face, no problem at all. Then suddenly - screams and protests. Sigh.

Holly said...

Sorry can't offer any advice - we wash hair on Sunday night at our place too! Both my boys hate it and carry on like nothing else. Every. single. time. Hopefully it will improve with age!

Eloise said...

My boys are 7, 6, 4, 3. Other than when they were tiny babies, I have not washed their hair once and yet their hair looks clean, is shiny, and smells beautiful. When I tell my friends that my boys have never had their hair washed they cannot believe it because you just can't tell. I just don't believe little kids need to wash their hair with shampoo - they aren't producing the same level of oil that teenagers and adults do. it probably helps that I have all boys and their hair is pretty short, if it was longer and knottier it might be a different story. Once the boys start having showers I will probably introduce the hair washing scenario but while they are happy to splash around in the bath, Im happy to let them be.

Sam-O said...

I've never understood the hair washing problem. I admit I have two boys, but still the process is the same.

They get their hair washed every bath or shower they have, which is usually daily. They have sweaty heads like their Mum, poor mites. It's up first and just happens, no drama.

Reading this and the comments I'm feeling like a bit of a meany now because I do the same with all little visitors... Maybe they are all just terrified of me but I;ve never had any complaints. ;)

cityhippyfarmgirl said...

The Monkeys hate it too, and it's only a once a week job.
I did for a while have a round hat thing that slips over their noggin's. Just like a hat, but without the middle bit, so all water just ran over the edges and not into their eyes. It was just foam from memory and bought at a chemist.

Maxabella said...

The lay back for my older two and the look up at the ceiling longer longer LONGER for the Badoo. I found over the years that just gently pouring water down their backs for as long as they like after the wash is something they all look forward to and makes the actual hair wash bearable and almost worthwhile... x

Seana Smith said...

I never shampoo the kids hair, gave it up as a bad job about 13 years ago. Their hair looks FINE. Eldest has started washing hs own now in the shower, teenage crush has worked where all else failed!

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