Turn bad hair days into good Say good­bye to bad hair days

Does your tod­dler throw a scene when it's time to wash his locks? Here's how to deal

Your Baby & Toddler - - Contents - BY NOW YOU’RE

well aware that your tod­dler isn't al­ways a log­i­cal, deeply thought­ful be­ing. Once that lit­tle nog­gin be­comes un­hinged, none of your ar­gu­ments and ne­go­ti­a­tions will help one lit­tle bit. It takes just one bad sham­poo (like just a tiny lit­tle drop of wa­ter in his eye) to make him as stub­born as a don­key. And then you'll be sit­ting with your own head in your hands about the child who is usu­ally so fond of splash­ing in the pool, but gives the sham­poo and the show­er­head a wide berth.

STEP 1: STAY CALM AND BE FIRM

You're the par­ent, and your child is very finely at­tuned to your emo­tions. If it looks like you're go­ing to hes­i­tate, you've al­ready lost the bat­tle. Stick to your guns and don't al­low him to ma­nip­u­late you. Hair-wash­ing day should not be­come a power strug­gle. Speak calmly and firmly but still lov­ingly and with re­spect for your child. Your con­sis­tency about the mat­ter is very im­por­tant – if you stand strong, it will be eas­ier for your child to ac­cept that wash­ing hair is non-ne­go­tiable.

STEP 2: SHOW EM­PA­THY

Re­mem­ber, all the drama is also no fun for your lit­tle one. He's not busy be­ing naughty or do­ing it on pur­pose. In his world, clean hair is just not as im­por­tant as him be­ing com­fort­able in the bath. It's dif­fi­cult for adults to un­der­stand their chil­dren's fears, but it doesn't mean their emo­tions about the mat­ter are in­valid. So don't be rough and sim­ply pin your child down in the bath – it will only make mat­ters worse.

STEP 3: LOWER YOUR STAN­DARDS

You re­ally don't have to wash his hair ev­ery sec­ond day. Once a week is fine, and in win­ter, when your child sweats less, you can even stretch it to once ev­ery 10 days. In­spect his head and scalp, and if it's clean, leave him be.

STEP 4:

IDEN­TIFY THE PROB­LEM What part of the wash­ing process is the prob­lem? Is it the ini­tial wet­ting of the hair, ap­ply­ing sham­poo, or the rins­ing? Chat to your lit­tle one about it – maybe when you're in the car and calm about it – so that you can come to un­der­stand what it is that's bug­ging him. Some kids fear the feel­ing of wa­ter on their face or drown­ing, while for oth­ers it's the sting­ing of the eyes, and oth­ers fear the show­er­head like a co­bra. At what point does your child start protest­ing? It will give you an idea of where the prob­lem lies, so that you can think of an al­ter­na­tive. If your child doesn't like the show­er­head or a jug, he might pre­fer ly­ing back in shal­low wa­ter. A face­cloth that he holds over his face him­self can help with sham­poo sting­ing, or buy a sham­poo vi­sor at the chemist.

STEP 5: HAVE A STRAT­EGY Make it a com­pe­ti­tion:

If your lit­tle one has a com­pet­i­tive streak, it can help. See how fast you can com­plete the process, for in­stance. Set a stopwatch and see if you can beat it. Or set a chal­lenge, like that he's only al­lowed to moan or protest six times, and then you can count down. Bath or shower to­gether: Most tod­dlers love hav­ing their ma in the tub with them. The more re­laxed at­mos­phere and the fact that you're in there with him and not tow­er­ing over him can make it eas­ier to do the deed. You can also take turns and give him the chance to wash your hair, so that he can see how it works. You can also try tak­ing him into the shower with you – for some kids, this works bet­ter, es­pe­cially if you sell it as a big treat or ad­ven­ture. Fan­tasy: Bring a doll into the bath, and first demon­strate ex­actly how you'll be wash­ing. Take turns with the doll. You can also play swim­ming games, or make funny hair­styles with the sham­poo foam. Re­ward chart: Once you've made progress, you can start with a re­ward chart. For ev­ery drama-free wash, your child gets a sticker, and if he gets five stick­ers, you go out for ice cream. YB

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