No matter how cute toddlers are, there can be days when they need to look just a bit smarter than normal and it's a real struggle to brush their hair. It's not just boys who like the messy look, many girls refuse to go near a hairbrush too.
Some question why bother, if they won't stand still and it ends in tears. But besides cosmetic reasons to brush hair, there are practical reasons too. It loosens any dirt that may be lurking, it's good to get their natural oils working to the ends of the hair and its good practise for that special day coming up (a wedding or family photo event!) when you need them tidy.
Here are a few tips:-
Styles: keep long hair up in plaits or pony tails to avoid knots and hair twiddling (which makes it unbearably tangled).
Tools: use a natural bristle hair brush and be gentle! Deal with a little at a time and take it slowly. You don't have to untangle the whole head in one go, so take it bit by bit and work through the whole head gradually.
Lice: don't share brushes to reduce the chance of getting lice, which are a pain to deal with! Make it easy on yourself by getting each child their own brush and wash it in warm soapy water frequently.
Play hairdressers: making it fun does take the pain out of brushing their hair. Set up a stool and a few hair clips etc and role play going to a hairdressers. Add a mirror too as kids love staring at themselves.
Decorations: go shopping together for some new clips and ribbons. Keep them somewhere special and make a big fuss of how beautiful she looks when her hair is done.
As little girls' hair grows longer they get more and more adventurous and demanding when it comes to styles! Pony tails, pig tails, French plaits, braids with ribbons, bows or jewels. Here are a few great ideas to get the children making their own hair accessories and making mum's life a bit easier (and cheaper!).
- Many ladies clothing and children's tops come with loops of satin ribbon to use when hanging the clothing on a hanger in the shop. Snip these out and very soon you will have a colourful collection of ribbons to tie in hair or use in craft activities.
- Many markets or cheap fabric shops sell very reasonable lengths of satin ribbon to tie into hair. It makes the simplest bunch of hair look pretty if a co-ordinating ribbon is tied round. Or tie a ribbon onto the pony tail when doing a plait so you include a length of ribbon with each section of hair.
- Fabric strips make gorgeous hair ribbons. Simply cut a length of fabric about 5am wide and use to tie up bunches. Or, if you catch all the hair in the bunch and wrap it round, you can make little side buns. So cute!
- Buy inexpensive hair clips and decorate them yourself. Get some ribbon and tie through the holes leaving a length dangling down. Use PVA glue to stick on sequins or glitter or jewels. Thread some beads onto ribbon and tie these on too to have a dangling bead decoration clipped in.
Looks great and fun to make!
Many perfectly normal hair conditions can cause concern to parents, but there is enormous variation in the occurrence and appearance of hair in newborn babies and indeed throughout their first year. Don't panic! Here are some of the common features you might encounter:-
The colour of many baby's hair changes after they are born. Those with light hair often find that their hair becomes darker over time. This is probably to do with pigmentation. Eumelanin determines the colour of your baby's hair. A lot of eumelanin means they will have dark hair; a small amount means they will have lighter coloured hair. Hair colour is not 'dominant' which means your baby can have different hair colour and indeed texture to the parents and siblings.
Newborns and hair on shoulders and ears?
This is very common and can take the form of soft, dark hairs on the shoulders or tops of the ears. It is called lanugo. All foetuses grow it in the womb and it usually disappears by 36 weeks. This means that early babies are more likely to have it. 'Lanugo' usually disappears over the first few weeks as it is so fine that it quickly rubs off.
No hair at all?
Many babies get to one year old and still don't have any hair at all! This is quite normal. As long as the scalp and head looks clear and healthy it is just one of those things that can develop at different times. If there is any soreness, marks or discomfort then do consult your GP.
Washing baby's hair
Too much washing can dry out the skin and cause cradle cap. Baby's hair doesn't need washing unless it has become particularly dirty with something, like food, in it. Unless it is grubby, don't wash it.
This is very common as so many babies lie on their back to nap and sleep. It simply means their hair is being rubbed away. Nothing to worry about at all!
If your baby's hair needs washing, support your baby and wet the scalp with water, add a tiny drop of a mild shampoo and lather gently. Rinse well and chat with and engage your baby throughout.