Wash Your Toddler’s Hair without Meltdowns

When it comes to washing your toddlers hair, many parents are surprised when their child has a complete emotional meltdown over getting clean.

I can’t tell you how many moms write me begging for ideas to avoid their child’s meltdowns.

Today I’m pleased to welcome Angelica from The Good Nursery, who is sharing her tips for how to help stop meltdowns before they begin when you’re washing your child’s hair.

Be sure to check out even more of my helpful parenting tips, too!

This post contains affiliate links.

Wash Toddlers Hair without Meltdowns!

Of all the things new mothers prepare for, washing your toddler’s hair in their terrible twos and threes wasn’t on the list

Small children tend to get fussy around water.

They cry, scream and squirm their way out of bath time, which can get frustrating for anyone on bathing duty.

But don’t worry – it’s possible to have bath time without the fuss.

Here are just a few ways you and your child can acclimate to shampoo time and how you can make baths more enjoyable for the both of you.

young child snuggled in towel after bath

Why Your Child Hates Getting Their Hair Washed

But first, it’s important to understand some of the more common reasons your child shows an aversion to getting their hair washed during bath time.

Fear of Getting Shampoo in Their Eyes

No one likes getting shampoo in their eyes, whether child or adult.

While we’ve gotten over that fear at this point in our lives, your child is just beginning to understand it.

If they’ve felt the sting of shampoo on their eyes before, this can cause them to fear that kind of incident again, even to the point where they will hate hair-washing.

You can reassure them that you’re using no-more-tears shampoo or other mild yet hydrating shampoos, guaranteeing that it won’t hurt their eyes, even if it gets in.

toddler in rustic tub outside

Hating the Sensation

Some children may hate the sensation of their scalp being massaged and fingers and tools running through their hair.

They may find it invasive, foreign and disturbing.

The good news is that they can learn to move past this eventually as they experience more washes and learn to do it themselves.

For now, though, washing will be a trust exercise.

Break them in slowly and explain everything you’re doing when washing them.

child's wrinkled feet from bath tub

Just Because

As much as we want to raise our children to be the best we want them to be, they are unique individuals with their own minds, even at this young age.

Though frustrating for parents to hear, them not liking bath time may be their first display of personal preference, though they will learn to compromise eventually.

Tips For Next Bath Time when Washing Your Toddlers Hair

Having mentioned some reasons why they don’t like getting their hair washed, here are some tips on washing your toddlers hair without the meltdowns.

toddler in bath tub with shampoo bottle - washing toddlers hair

Use the Proper Shampoo

Shampoo for adults is often full of chemicals that are tough on oil and dandruff and irritating on the eyes if they seep in, especially if they have minty flavors.

This is why baby shampoos are milder and gentler while still protecting and giving nutrients to their hair, without the sting and irritation on the eyes. 

Use the right children’s shampoo to keep bath time tear-free.

Children are sensitive, and it is best to use shampoo designed to be as gentle as possible.

Washing Toddlers Hair: Train Them To Look Up

Rinsing poses a problem because the water and shampoo flow towards their eyes while they’re looking down when playing with toys.

This is how shampoo gets in.

Thus, it is important to train them to “look towards the sky” so that you can rinse their hair without getting their faces wet.

This is the same principle for how salons rinse hair.

If you can get them in a position where they can avoid getting shampoo on their faces, you can increase your chances of washing their hair quickly and successfully.

child throwing water from cup while sitting in tub outside

Find the Rinsing Technique for You

Some children like the feeling of running water showers provide, while others prefer a gentle flow from a hand-held dipper.

It’s best to know which of these your child likes more.

If they don’t respond well to shampoo sliding down their head, apply it on your hand first.

If they don’t like you touching their hair, let them shampoo themselves first.

This will take some experimentation and open communication with your toddler.

Ask them which sensation they can tolerate most and see which one gets it done fastest.

child eating watermelon in bath tub before washing toddlers hair

Time it Right

It may seem inconsequential, but when you wash your child’s hair during bath time plays a big part in whether you can get it done or not.

It is best to wash their hair at the very start of the bath.

They’ll be distracted enough by their bath toys so you can sneak it in if done quickly.

They are also more likely to tolerate it if they know there will be a longer, uninterrupted chance of bathroom playtime if they get the hair-washing done at the start of the bath.

child playing with pool noddles in tub

Keep it Fun When Washing Toddler’s Hair

As with anything that involves getting the child to do something they need to do, you’ll need to distract them.

Fortunately, there are tools made for that.

Plenty of water-proof toys have swam onto the market specifically for bathtime.

You can also give your child other things to do, such as spray and squirt water bottles.

We used to cut up pool noodles and use them to keep bath time fun!

Anything you can do to get them to associate time in the water with fun and excitement will help you get the process done smoother and with less stress.

Here are some very popular bath toys to add to bath time:

Keep it Comfortable

While our children are still small, we want to make things comfortable for them. In this case, comfort serves a more practical purpose: getting things done.

When your child is comfortable entering the bathroom, feeling the water on their skin, getting their hair washed and scrubbed, they will learn to cooperate.

You can use tools like bathing visors to give them the extra assurance that water won’t get in their eyes as well as special rinse cups.

You can tell them about every step of what you’re doing.

Washing Toddlers Hair Made Easier!

rubber duckie floating on soap suds in bath tub

All in all, washing your toddler’s hair doesn’t have to be an uphill battle every time.

Finding the right conditions to allow you to wash your child’s hair may take effort, but in the end, washing their hair should be a pleasant experience for you and your child.

If you stay patient with them, let them know what’s going on and train them to enjoy spending time in the water, hair-washing should become a breeze.

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    About the Author

    A few years ago, Angelica found out about all the plastic and toxic ingredients that got into most children’s products. And this worried her to no end.

    Because of this, she began to research what the best ingredients and materials were for children and made it her mission to share this information with other mothers.

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