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Friday, May 05, 2006

Hair washing woes

Though my girl loves to brush teeth, she hates to have her hair washed. In fact she hated it so much it became a phobia.

We used to wash her hair after coming back from the park on Sundays. She hated the hair washing part so much that it spoilt the trip to the park for her. She was even willing to forgo the trip to the park if that meant she need not have to wash her hair. Sometimes at the park she would start asking us not to wash her hair. Back home, when the time came for her to wash her hair she would cry so hard sometimes till she vomitted.

That caused us, the parents, a lot of stress as we were at a loss of what to do and it was painful to watch her fear. She would be so fearful to have her hair washed she would actually shiver in fear. Poor thing!

Being naturally human, when stressed out, we the parents, blamed each other and had many a fight over this. Mr MG said I was too gentle with her and I said he was too rough. Hehehe.

A little history. When she was a baby, we would do her hair washing together in the baby tub. One of us would cradle her while the other poured water gently over her head so that was ok. When she outgrew the tub, we (the one bathing her) would squat down, then put her over our legs so that her head was tilted back over our knee and held the shower over her head that way and that was ok too.

The trouble really started when she was old enough to stand and understand instructions. At first, I instructed her to look up while I held the shower over her head and that was ok too. But then Mr MG (hehe. still blaming) would pour the shower all over her head quickly and water and soap would run all over her face and eyes and thats when the phobia began. His argument was that, it was better to do it quickly and get it done and over with instead of prolonging the hair washing part and prolonging her fear. (Sometimes a bath that included a hair wash may take up to an hour!) She even began to be afraid to look up for me after that and I had no choice but to pour water over her head thereby deepening her fear.

It was with much patience (and sometimes not so much patience ie scolding), games (Mr MG would draw pictures on the ceiling and ask her to look up) and counting games (which she loves). "Shall we count together? Lets count to 10 together and soon it will be over. Hold mummy and put your chin on mummy's tummy then look up at the ceiling. Ok. 1,2,3....." or I would have her count my age. That took longer than 10 so I could wash out more shampoo that way. Haha. She was still reluctant and afraid to look up and it took a lot of patience and coaxing. Finally, she overcame her fear and even asked to have her hair washed after the Sunday outing at the park. Now she is completely free from her fear but she still enjoys the counting game. :)

Luckily baby (maybe being a boy and more tough) has not shown this fear so far. He would cry a little when water is poured over his head but he gets over it very quickly when distracted with some pouring toys or if I allow him to play with the soapbox or soap.

These days, bathing the kids are my full responsibility. I can't remember the last time Mr MG bathed them. His bathing, feeding, diaper duty/help usually ends when they turn one or earlier. Besides, my girl refusal to allow him to wash her hair after her phobia gave him the perfect excuse. (He says thats my fault too and I say its his. :P) Hehehe. But I don't mind. Afterall, he works hard for the money and whenever I do things for them, its always a chance to bond, play and chat with them. :)


  1. Maybe you can try those hair washing bands? The one that strap around the head that shields the water from dripping down the front of their face?

    When Zara was old enough to sit on her own, I used that on her.. But she tore it down when she was ready to receive water dripping down her face. Now she's fine.. Either have her head tilt or getting water dripped down the front.

  2. My boys would used their two hands and cover the face while I scoop the water an pour over their head. After that quickly wipe their face dry. No problem for them - boys maybe I dunno!

  3. I also have the same problem.. Champion doesn't like to wash his hair.. "Ma, don't want.. don't want wash hair" he will cry!

    Now, I just resort to shampooing, passing him the foam on his head for him to play.. that's when I make pour on his head.. have to be fast.. I can only do it few times.. coz' he HUGS and holds tight onto me! Arrgghh.. I also wet!

  4. hmm very good idea....lemme try on my girl to ask her to look up..i've been pouring water like Mr. MG did on Faythe, so far she's OK, but starts to move around and sometimes don't really enjoy the hairwash session.

  5. emm... I was worry too when the first time I wash the twins' hair when they can stand, because my friend's daughter also same like your girl, my friend some more have to get a special hat for her D to wear when washing her hair.
    so I was so worry, then I went to buy nice sticker stick on the wall, stick it highier, then ask the girls look at the cute sticker, when they tilt their head back I shower their hair.
    your girl so big already, don't know the cute sticker trick work or not, but still can try gua...

  6. I can so relate to that. DH is forever blamming me as Alysha just haes water getting into her eyes. And of course he cant understand why so he just puts the shower on her head and she just screams away.

    So hair washing is my duty and DH gets away scot free.

    But I am getting her used to a little water at a time now a days whilst distracting her with stories.

  7. zara's mama,
    She has overcome her fear now no problems but at the time, I don't think a hair washing band would have helped so I didn't go out and get one.

    My boy also don't mind so much.

    Haha. Yah, when they bathe sometimes we end up wet too.

    Maybe you can try Maria's sticker trick.

    Now she is no longer afraid, she will look up and let me pour the water over her hair and she knows now that the water won't get over her eyes and face that way, so can save money on sticker. Hehe.

    Haha. Sama-sama ya? She'll get over it in no time, no worries.

  8. My son hate washing his hair too. He'll scream n cry like as though someone hit him. He'll even come and hug me with his wet body and I will get wet too.Hehe...
    He hate brushing his teeth. I have to grab him in order to brush his teeth.

  9. Can't imagine ur girl used to afraid of washing hair. BB at one stage dislike water running down his head too. But I give him a handkerchief to wipe away water flowing down. He is fine after that and enjoy water dripping from his head now.

  10. Yup, Damien went through the same phase not long ago..it was a struggle to wash his hair..he would scream and cry at the top of his lungs..scary..

    I used the same tactic as you, asked him to look up and count to 10 or 20, hee..but it took awhile for him to totally overcome his fear..

    Now, he would happily shampoo his hair on his own and even attempted to wash it himself..;)

  11. I think I am the lucky onr who doesn't have much hair washing problem. :)

    My hubby did a good job by showing her how he wash his hair. She will face down instead of facing the ceiling. :)

  12. I am lucky too, no problem on this! but after i pour water with one hand, another hand get ready the towel to rub away the water on their face.

  13. i still cradle ashley over the tub when i wash her hair. she doesn;t particularly like it and would usually fuss when i wash her hair...she also does not particularly like it when i wring the small well towel over her head.

  14. My son once just like your gal but now he overcome. My twins are no problem with that even i pour water on their hair when they start sit still.

  15. Belle has begun to fear water pouring down her head. I tried to make her tilt her head and look up, but she's at that age where she can wriggle about.

    Anyway, I brought it to my mum's attention and she told me to tilt her head down (chin tuck in). Since your girl understands instruction, you can tell her to close her eyes while you pour water over her head. Hope this helps!

  16. mg, why dont u use a shower instead of a bath if u bath her? this will enable her to breath and not let the water gush to her face. or let ur daughter pour the water over her head instead?

  17. I'm having the same problem with Justin too. Still struggling to try out whatever method to stop him from crying when washing his hair. I saw those plastic cap which is worn for hair washing online. But can't seems to find one here.

  18. I realize that majority of girls are hated to be washed, agree?

  19. sabrina,
    Yah. Hehe. When they are afraid they will rush to hug us then we end up looking like we had a bath too!

    Hankerchief to wipe? Now thats a good idea. Wish I had thought of that when we had the problem then.

    Sometimes I let my girl hold the shower to wash herself too. I think it helps to let them have some control to ease their fear.

    Lucky you and good for your hubby.

    Hmm.. another one with the towel trick. I think it must help huh?

    I think once they start gettting the fear its hard to overcome so best to try to avoid it from becoming one if possible that is.

    Hehe. I thought girls more afraid but in your case, terbalik pulak.

    I tried to ask her to look down too but it didn't help once the fear had set in. Anyway its history now as she has overcome her fear.

    Yes, we use the shower as its gentler that way. She is no longer afraid so usually I shower her instead of letting her have the shower, otherwise....... the whole bathroom, the walls, the floor and everywhere else gets wet with her happy experimental spraying. Hahaha!

    I think those special caps doesn't help very much when they're afraid. We just have to wait till they outgrow the fear and they will.

    hui sia,
    Yes, at first I thought so too but then from some of the comments it looks like some of the boys have the same fear too so not really sure if its a gender thing.

  20. yea, i believe once a kid develop a fear, it takes more effort to undo it. anyway, glad that your girl has overcome it and great effort from the mom.

    both my kids love to take bath and it has always been my responsibilities(not daddy) to bath them .....but i enjoy doing so.

  21. two little fellas,
    My kids love to have a bath too (or rather a shower since thats what I use now). Luckily no more hair washing fears.


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