My two daughters (age 4 and 2) do not like to wash their faces. Since they wre new born age I used wet (by water - lukewarm and gradually lowered temperatured water) towels to rub and clean their faces. Now it needs more persuasion to use wet towels to clean their faces. They have a bath every day but I can't manage to wash their faces and do shampooing.

  • What is a strong persuasive technique to let them wash their faces and shampooing? And they both do not like combing.
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    I have removed your second question as it is off topic here (opinion based) and we really need you to have just one question in a post. Please also read the Related questions in the sidebar to the right - good guidance there on washing and shampooing.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 14:06
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    Have you tried kid's soaps, and colorful or shaped sponges or cloths? Playing a song or singing one that signals the length of time the activity takes can help. Row your boat 2-3 times would be one. Make it fun. Wash your face, brush your teeth at the same time. While shampooing, make beards, turn hair into wild designs. Have a mirror handy...
    – WRX
    Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 17:46
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    Additional to Willow Rex's hint (to gamify the task at hand) my daughter complied when I held the back of her head with one hand and told her to lay down, "No worries, I'm holding you above water". Same for rinsing. With her face directed upwards theres no need to fear stuff in her eyes. To calm her hair I usually only comb the last 2cm of her hair and gradually go up. When she realized this way theres no twinging she didnt object anymore. Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 9:04
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    Have you asked them why they do not like washing their faces? Maybe there is a concrete problem to address? Some toddlers do not like getting water in their eyes. If you help them avoid that, e.g. give them a cloth to hold over their eyes that may help.
    – sleske
    Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 9:24
  • Do you really mean "do not like to wash their faces" or "do not like when someone else wash their faces". At 4, she should be able to do it, have you tried letting them clean themselves? And then you do a "check up" pass.
    – the_lotus
    Commented May 5, 2017 at 16:37

2 Answers 2


What is a strong persuasive technique to let them wash their faces and shampooing?

Sorry, but I don't think there is some magic technique to get them to wash their faces. However, if you try a few things, I am sure you will find a way.

Some ideas:

  • Just like with adults, many problems can be solved by talking to each other :-). Explain why washing is important, and ask why they do not like it; they should be old enough to explain if there is something concrete bothering them.
  • If there is a concrete problem, try addressing it with them. For example, some children do not like getting water into the eyes during shampooing. I found that giving the child a cloth to cover the eyes helps - both because it keeps out water, and because it gives the child something to do to be in control.
  • If they just don't like being washed, try making it a game, or distracting them. My daughter does not particularly like having her teeth brushed, but enjoys it if I sing her a song about fighting off teeth monsters while brushing. Different things will work for each child; try them.
  • Try to involve them - children (like all humans) like to be in control. Let them squeeze the shampoo bottle, let them open the tap, etc. Maybe they'll even end up washing themselves :-).
  • Finally, if everything fails, or you must hurry, just tell them firmly that now it is time to wash. If needs be, hold them gently but firmly and get over with it quickly. If you try the steps above, this should rarely be necessary. After you are done, praise them for having cooperated if they did not fight you. If they did, explain that you had to do this because being clean is important.

And they both do not like combing.

Everything above applies here as well.

Additionally, one concrete problem: Most children with long hair do not like combing because their hair knots easily (being very thin), and combing knotted hair is quite uncomfortable.

There are special brushes to untangle knotted hair - they have bristles of varying lenght, so they gently untangle. Look/ask for a detangling hairbrush or no-cry hairbrush (they exist for adults, too) - that worked wonders for my daughter. Plus, there are children's brushes with nice colors and stars or unicorns on them - your daughters may even insist on using them...


A few things that have helped w/ my 19mo old (who hates both activities as well) She thinks it's hilarious when I do the "Jaws Theme" as I'm getting closer to her face with the washcloth. Then she giggles while I'm washing rather than pushing me away. I'm also working with her on washing her own face. It's a work in progress but independence is always good motivation. As for the hair, you can always put a towel down on the kitchen counter for them to lay on and wash their hair over the sink with the sprayer, my oldest preferred this method when she was little. Otherwise I just tell my little one to look up at mommy quick or point to a spot on the wall or something up high, then quickly rinse with the cup of water so it doesn't get in her eyes, which is the main reason she hates having her hair washed.

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