the network for radical unschooling families
Hello! Like my subject line states, I am looking for a bit of advice on my 3 year old's refusal to have his hair wetted and shampooed. Before this evening, it had been several weeks since his last shampoo. He used to be okay with me just getting his hair wet in the tub, but for the past few weeks, he has refused to let me get his hair wet or shampoo. In respecting his wish to not have his hair washed, I have backed off...until tonight. :( I typically just talk a bit each time he refuses about how we are playing outside, how hair and head can get dirty, and how it will helps us stay clean and healthy to clean our hair and heads. Then I will maybe ask again, "Would you like me to get your head and hair nice and clean?" The answer is always "NO SHAMPOO, NO HEAD," and so I say "OK, maybe another time when you want to."
Well, we play outside quite often lately during these summer months, either at the beach or in the sandbox, and tonight I noticed that he had several very crusty dirt spots on his scalp and that his hair was emitting a bit of an odor. :/ I got a bit freaked out and decided to go ahead and shampoo his head against his will. :( I feel awful, as it resulted in a lot of screaming and wailing and crying in abject terror on his part. I will not do this again. The look in his eyes told me that he felt betrayed by my actions. But here I am, still admittedly concerned about the lack of hygiene in not washing hair for weeks or months on end. I wonder how other radical unschooling families deal with issues of this nature, i.e., washing hair, brushing teeth, etc. when the child flat-out refuses to participate in these hygienic rituals. Thanks for any input or stories you may be willing to share.
I did have difficulties in the past with hair washing, and then I realised that the shampoos were causing irritation, and hence the whole hair washing experience was causing discomfort to my child. If you wouldn't eat your shampoo, it may be best avoided on your head- Now I know this is difficult, and it took me a long time to get into the swing of using a natural alternative. I rarely shampoo my kids hair now, but I may mix up a bicarb solution, and add lavender or rosemary to the wash. If you can get your three year old to make up the 'NO POO' shampoo with you, it may just change the psychology of the experience for your son.
I wish you Luck!
Lukas is 10 and still doesn't like his hair washed. When he does agree to it I pour the bath water over his head while shielding his eyes with my hand while he's looking up at the ceiling,putting a picture up there helps,like mario. I wet his hair with the bath water using a plastic pitcher,shampoo it then run warm water into the pitcher to rinse. What helps is me being very calm and telling him it's almost done and he can relax and play. Part of his dislike is how his hair sticks up afterwards. A lack of control i guess it's a bother for him to redo it. The fear of water going in his eyes too so i make sure i have a dry towel right there on the toilet to pat his eyes with.
I ran across these while I was searching for a video someone had posted about kids hair (turns out it was detangling nappy hair but it's cute and her willingness to take it slow is inspiring :-) Detangling Children's Natural Hair :-)
But anyway, here's some things to look into:
Inflatable Hair Wash Basin (As an example.) A counter is useful but one picture shows it being used on a bed (since they're for the disabled). Could be a floor while the child watches TV.
EZ Shampoo Hair Washing Tray (Though it would need a seat that gets the child up high enough to the sink.)
There are more things to explore to begin to see what's out there at Amazon (portable hair sink).
One thing I have tried with success is to fill the bath with water and bubble bath. Then get hold of a kids sized snorkel and mask. Hide things in the water (we use lego people) and see if they want to play 'finding the tiny people'. My kids love this and always get their hair wet and bubbly which is clean enough for me. ;-)