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I have little twins that aren't two years old. One of them I have no problem washing his hair; he even laughts when I dry it with the towel. His brother screams his lungs out every single day, every time I start washing his hair. And when the bath is over, drying the wet hair is another ...quest (he fights!).

Doing the same thing for both, I don't know what I might be doing wrong, and as far as I recall it's always been a drama (reminds of very first bath at hospital... yeah, always been a drama). Any clues?

They both enjoy the water, they play with their toys in the bath; when it's over I grab the "easy" one first and while I put his diaper & PJ's on, the "screamer" is all angel-like, picks up the toys, drains them and puts them where they belong, and then he even pulls the plug and calmly waits for his turn... and when I pick him up and the fight for dry hair begins.

What can I possibly do to stop fighting? Not washing the hair is not an option...

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What about brushing the hair? How old are they? maybe give him the option to do it himself? –  Michael Dec 20 '13 at 2:23
    
20 months at the end of the month :) –  retailcoder Dec 20 '13 at 2:34
    
I have a similar problem with my daughter. She is 22 months. We have a little (but significant) improvement introducing a little glass for wetting and rinsing her hairs. I think that this is because she doesn't like the water over her eyes and her nose. No problem instead in drying. Do you use an hair dryer? –  amorvincomni Dec 20 '13 at 8:56
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Also, you don't need to wash it daily. We wash our 30-mo's hair once a week or so (or before special occasions). See this, for example: aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/health-and-beauty/… –  JJC Jan 9 at 14:51
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5 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Is it drying by towel? As a kid I hated having someone else wiping my face clean, it felt so invasive, demeaning and uncomfortable (and to be honest I think I just got used to fighting it).

The washing... I don't know. Maybe give him the option to do it himself?

The towel might be a bit too vigorous for his taste (not an accusation! I'm sure you're gentle). Here are some thoughts:

  • I've seen head band towels, like an oversized cotton headband with loose elastic. Would he be willing to just wear that like a hat for ten minutes? Explain that it's an alternative, and he gets to choose the lesser evil. (I think it's a woman's beauty product, but don't tell him!)
  • Buzz cut the hair and let the drying situation subside, maybe in a few months he'll feel more comfortable with it.
  • Try patting the hair instead of rubbing it (if that's not already what you're doing).
  • See a doctor if maybe he has a scalp condition that might be making the washing and hair drying process somewhat painful. Is brushing the hair okay?
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+1 Your first sentence rings a bell: he doesn't like getting his face wiped after meals, either. Too young to wash his own hair though.. and I won't see the light of another day if mommy finds out I've buzz-cut his hair! –  retailcoder Dec 20 '13 at 2:37
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Maybe too young. Give it a try anyway :) Ask him to wipe his own face too after meals (nice warm towel). Some kids just aren't touchy, I never was. I seem to remember becoming a cleaner eater sooner than other kids... we find our ways around things :) –  Michael Dec 20 '13 at 2:42
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"let him try anyway" is a GREAT addition to a wonderful answer. He can know you'll get the last bits he misses, but if he is practicing so eventually he can do it on his own, he can feel better even about when someone else does it for him. –  balanced mama Dec 20 '13 at 13:21
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Our two-year-old has been the same way for the last year and a half. :-/ She likes splashing in the tub and washing the rest of herself, but really, really does not like having her hair washed (drying used to be almost as bad, but has gotten better since we started patting it gently instead of doing it the quicker normal/adult way). I wish I had an answer for this myself, but just thought I'd share with you that it's not just something wrong with your child or something you're doing wrong. Also, take it or leave it, but health-wise it's probably better to not wash hair every single day. It removes the natural oils and is generally not recommended. For reference, we only wash our daughter's hair 1-2 times per week (the other night she still takes a bath but doesn't get her hair wet). Just my two cents. :-) Good luck (to us all)!

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Our daughter initially didn't like getting her hair washed. It is rather invasive, like Michael said, but washing your hair is just a necessity of social standards. What I started to do was warn her. I'd let her know beforehand "I'm going to wash your head soon". At the same time I'd show her the shampoo and prep a wet washcloth just in case soap got into her eyes. Eventually she got used to it, stopped fighting. You can still tell she doesn't like it but when all is said and done in the bath, she usually comes out giggling.

Another thing to remember is try not to let the screaming get to you. Remain positive about bathtime. It's a pain to sit there and listen to this irrational baby scream about something so basic, but that's how we think of it in our mind. To them, it's an evil hand of poisonous bubbles trying to melt their head down. Do something funny, smile, talk them through it, they'll feed off of you.

As far as towel drying, that was always a no go. Besides the fact that she just hated it, she takes her bath at night, right before bed, so her hair needs to be completely dry before she gets into bed. Mold is common where I live so if a mattress, bed sheets, or a pillow case gets wet, it's going to get mold. Immediately after she gets out, we pat her hair down as best we can and then we use a blow dryer. That may sound harsh but we use the low setting. We also don't use the extremely hot setting, common sense would dictate that. It takes a little time to get everything dry but she enjoys it and the warm air helps her relax after the shower. As long as you use your hand as the buffer between dryer and scalp, it should be fine.

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+1 for "it's an evil hand of poisonous bubbles trying to melt their head down" - also I like the "warn" part which comes down to "say what you do, do what you say". –  retailcoder Dec 29 '13 at 5:34
    
For my 6 month old daughter, I used "Arya Splash?" as the warning. She learned to duck, block and weave, but it quickly turned into a game, and she stopped being so annoyed. –  deworde Feb 27 at 11:50
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If his hair is kinda long or thick then this might be the problem. Or, some people just hate wet hair on specific spots of their head; I know this from experience. Cut his hair short and try again.

EDIT: I will talk from my personal view and feel so it might be rare issue. The problem is that when the hair gets watered, it forms another volume and thickness, it's adding kinda of pressure to the scalp. Especialy when you put any object on top of the head, while the hair is wet, it is absolutely awfull feel. I have specific spots right behind my ears, the skin there. When the hair is half-wet and it has only few hairsprings, that are touching the skin, this must not happend at all cost !

Also, when you shower him, don't move alot his hair, try to wash the it without displacing his hair from the previous spots, before the bath. He had no problem with his hair in this way, so don't move it too much from it's original position.

If his bangs(fringe) is kinda long, move it backwards, like a gentleman's hairstyle.

After bath, also try not to leave few hairsrpings touchig his hair, the allmost-dryed hairsrpings adds crazy feeling to the skin, I'm usualy very carefull but I have expirience and I do it fast, without much displacement of my hair. Then with the hairdryer is easy.

In short: In the shower try not to move his hair too much from the original position, especialy the area around the ears. Move his bangs backwards. Dont let your hand stay on the same head spot for more than half a second, it adds up weight to the hair and thus the feeling. After bath, again try not to displace too much when trying with the towel, the half-wet hairsprings must not touch the ears.

So yeah xD

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what I meant to do was to help you improve your answer. SE is probably different than other fora you are used to and the expectations for clarity and support for answers slightly higher. Your answer is okay, but you may get more votes if you elaborated a little. Check out How to Write a Good Answer for more information. It would be helpful if the elaboration were edited into your answer rather than added as a comment as well. –  balanced mama Feb 28 at 5:30
    
@dragons I think I understand your answer to mean that from your experience you suspect the problem is that too much or too thick hair may be uncomfortable when it's wet, and so the solution is to have less hair. Perhaps you could elaborate on your experience which led you to this conclusion and if the solution was successful for you and why? –  Jax Feb 28 at 21:59
    
Sorry didn't had enough time, sorry if it sounds not-so-parenting. Hope it helps. –  dragons Mar 2 at 3:27
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I would suggest that one other possibility is the shampoo-in-eyes issue. For my oldest, that's a big issue; he is not a 'texture' child to begin with (so the soaping isn't interesting) and getting the foamy suds on his skin is annoying, plus the whole eyes-burning bit, even no tears soap has some pain.

Our approach, which largely has worked: keep a towel handy, and offer it right after rinsing. It allows him to quickly clear his eyes and forehead, and feel like he's in control of the situation.

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