Hair washing needn’t be an impossible task…

Whether it’s because they’ve had soap in their eyes in the past, are fearful of water covering their eyes, or they just have a mind of their own – most toddlers despise hair washing.

While you’re not alone in this struggle, there are a few things you can do to make washing your toddler’s hair a little easier (and save your sanity and your eardrums in the process):

5 Tried-and-tested toddler hair washing tips

1. Watch your timing and consider your method

By the time your toddler climbs into the bath at the end of a busy day, he’s likely to be over-stimulated – so any meltdown that ensues could have more to do with being tired and less to do with actual hair washing. Try switching your timing up and – if your schedule allows – washing your toddler’s hair in the morning.

Similarly, try to wash your toddler’s hair at the beginning of bath time, with the promise that he can spend some time splashing about in the tub afterwards!

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Alternatively, some toddlers enjoy showering, and are so taken by the novelty, that they don’t even realise that you are washing their hair. Showering will also make the entire bath time routine move faster!

2. Pretend play

Encourage your little one to wash her doll’s hair outside of bath time. Pretend play can help create a positive association with an activity that your child deems negative.

The next time you wash your toddler’s hair, remind her how she washed her doll’s hair and just how the toy had nothing to fear, so neither does she.

3. Try incorporating a mirror into your routine

Toddlers love looking at themselves in the mirror – so encourage your little one to hold one as you wash their hair!

4. Use a conditioner and dry hair naturally

Some tots are fine with hair washing, but absolutely despise the brushing out and drying that follows…

Childs Farm founder Joanna Jensen, suggests that you use a conditioner to minimise knots, tangles and static: Conditioner gently smoothes out tangles and makes combing much easier. After shampooing, smooth a coin size amount of conditioner throughout the hair then use a wide-toothed comb or brush to spread evenly through the hair before rinsing.

She also encourages parents to allow their tot’s hair to dry naturally as blow-drying can remove moisture from the scalp and makes hair prone to static and tangles. “Bundle wet hair up in a towel to keep your little one’s head warm. Once their hair has dried, brush through gently (using a detangler of course) to remove any remaining knots,” she says.

5.  Wash hair only when needed!

To avoid meltdowns and, thus, reoccurring negative associations, Jenna says that you should only wash your toddler’s hair when absolutely necessary. Research supports this, and suggests that once or twice a week is more than enough!

Good to know: Over-washing can dry out your toddler’s scalp.


5 Tips to tame a toddler tantrum (and keep your sanity in check)

Rolene Strauss’s guide to raising a happy toddler

Hilarious! 15 Rules your toddler follows

Disclosure: All4Women was sent the products featured in this article. We write about products we are sent at our discretion.