Of all the things they tell you about parenting never once does anyone warn you about hair. Despite falling in love with your child’s beautiful downy hair as a baby, by the time they are 7 or 8 the situation has changed and hair becomes a dreaded daily ritual. ‘Detangle’ and ‘comb’ become forbidden words, with the whole process often causing tears and tantrums, especially for children with wavy hairstyles. But it doesn’t need to be like this. Here are a few tips on detangling your child’s hair the easy way, gained from bitter, tangle-ly experience:
- Use styles which prevent knots
As with most things in life, prevention is better than a cure and one of the best ways to avoid the stress of detangling hair is to make sure there aren’t too many knots in the first place. Knots are what make this process stressful and painful for your child. Leaving hair down, since it might rub against collars or scarves is much more likely to create knots, and if your child’s natural hair is within the wavy hairstyles category that will probably happen often. Try buns and ponytails instead, keeping the hair away from the face so it won’t be fiddled with.
- Condition first
When it comes to showering our kids many of us want to just get them in and out of the shower as quickly as possible, but if detangling is a struggle it’s worth taking a little extra time in your washing routine to deal with the problem at root. Conditioning your child’s hair with a child-friendly conditioner will improve the texture of each hair strand making them much less likely to get into knots. It also softens the hair making it easier to comb and put into straight or wavy hairstyles. For optimum results, leave the conditioner in for at least a minute before washing out.
- Make a bedtime ritual
Rituals are a great way to get your child into healthy habits. If detangling is always a problem, incorporate it into an evening pattern that includes fun elements too. You could sing a special bath time song or get into the habit of reading them a story once they are clean and in bed. Habit formation in childhood is particularly important for teaching your offspring good hygiene as they grow up – which will help when they reach their teenage years and need to fend off the dreaded acne. Helping them enjoy getting clean and presentable is a gift which will last the rest of their lives.
Those are just a few easy tips on detangling hair. It’s an unexpected struggle in parenthood, little acknowledged for the trauma it brings. Do these simple things and keep going until the blessed moment when they can brush their own hair!