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.
Yeugh - nits and lice are unpleasant, but don't panic if your children develop an infestation! Lice spread easily between children playing in groups so unfortunately, infestations aren't uncommon. Nits are the eggs that hatch into lice. The first you may hear is by note from your nursery that lice are going round, or of course you may notice your children scratching their heads as they sooth bites from lice. Lice don't fly or jump but they crawl quickly making them difficult to spot. Use a fine comb to see if your child is suffering from nits - a fine comb will help to pull them out and help you to confirm an infestation.
You can buy lice shampoos to treat the critters at any pharmacy. Lice lay eggs which hatch in 7 - 10 days, and then in a further 7 - 10 days, the young lice grow into adults and will start laying their own eggs. To remove them with shampoo, you will need to apply once at the first sign of infestation, and then once more around 7 days later when any existing eggs have hatched - shampoo doesn't treat nits (the eggs), only the lice. Further applications may be required either because the treatment didn't work, or your child may become reinfected from their nursery groups.
You should also wash any items that your child's head has had contact with since the infestation. Wash their bedding to remove lice from that, and wash anything else that their head may have come into contact with in the run up to the infestation.
The whole idea of nits and lice is pretty unpleasant, but it's a fact of growing up, so be aware that your child may get infected, keep a lookout for early signs, and don't panic if your child gets infected. Millions of other children are in the same situation and there are no long term effects.