Hair washing can be challenging for many children and there could be different reasons for that, but it may be that we realize our child is not only fussing about a drop of water in their eyes; it’s more than that.
If you think about it, washing hair is quite a full-on sensory experience!
There is lots of movement - your head, neck, shoulders, even your face. There are so many sensations, sounds, and smells that get thrown at you all at once, and then you still feel like you need to plan your breathing according to the water splashing in your face.
It can all be very overwhelming, especially if you have sensory sensitivities.
To be able to help our children, we need to try and find out what it is that bothers them.
We can do this in 3 different ways, and by the way, we can use all three; you don’t have to choose only one.
Talk to your child
Trial and error
Okay, the first one - talk to your child. We usually think about hair washing when we’re doing it or just before we start. If your child is terrified of having their hair washed, even more so! The mere thought of it could send them over the edge at times, so we try and prevent those moments, obviously…
However, if we can have a conversation with our child to find out what they cannot cope with, that could help us find ways to make it an easier experience for them.
The key here is to have a casual chat about it, NOT WHEN YOU ARE ABOUT TO WASH THEIR HAIR.
The second one - observe.
You can do this before and after you’ve had a chat with your child. Watch closely and try to determine whether there is anything in particular that your child finds overwhelming.
And then the third one - trial, and error.
Getting the routine for hair washing as close to perfect as possible for your child may take a little bit of time. Don’t give up, if one strategy doesn’t work, try another. Also, don’t just decide on their behalf; discuss the options with your child, as it is important for them to figure out what works best for them.
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