A mother combs her child's hair.

If your child has longer hair, your daily morning routine can be a challenge, especially if they have thick, curly, or tangled hair. If you’re not careful, combing your child’s hair can become a fight! To help you and your child have a better morning, this article will give you tips on how to make brushing your child’s hair pain free.

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Why Should You Care?

When I think back on my childhood, one of the most consistently painful things I remember experiencing was having to get my hair combed out every morning. Oftentimes my mother would be in a rush, and there were lots of tears right before heading out the door to school. This is not a great way for a kid to start their morning!

Children’s pain matters. When we ignore their discomfort, it can damage our relationship with them. Our children will feel like we don’t listen to them or that they’re not being taken seriously. This can lead to trust issues and other problems our relationships.

Combing Your Child’s Hair Doesn’t Have To Be A Fight

There are things we can do as parents to make getting hair done in the morning less of a struggle, and actually a pleasant part of our children’s day. With a little bit of planning, and patience, you’ll have the tools you need to help your child look great every morning without the tears.

Increase Your Empathy

Take a minute to think about how your child feels. If your child doesn’t like having their hair brushed, they probably have some valid reasons! Here are a few things that might be going on:

  • Sensory sensitivities: Some children are more sensitive to touch than others, and the feeling of hair brushing can be uncomfortable or even painful for them. This is especially true if their hair is tangled or knotted.
  • Lack of control: Hair brushing is something that is done to children, rather than by them. This can be frustrating for kids who are used to being in control of their own bodies.
  • Negative experiences: If a child has had a negative experience with hair brushing in the past, such as having their hair pulled or getting their head caught in a brush, they may be more likely to avoid it in the future.
  • Grumpy Parents: If you get impatient with your child while doing their hair, its going to make it something they avoid.
  • Having to sit still: It’s hard for young kids to sit still! Epecially for younger children.

How To Set Yourself Up For Success When Doing Your Child’s Hair

Start with the right tools: A good quality brush or comb is essential. Look for one with soft, flexible bristles that won’t pull on your child’s hair. You may also want to invest in a detangling spray.

Leave Yourself Plenty of Time: Rushing when brushing is a recipie for pain! Make sure you have enough time to work carefully and slowly so that you are not pulling excessibly on your childs hair.

Brush Day and Night: Brushing before bed is a smart way to make your job easier in the morning. Yes, it will get messier at night, but at least you’ve given yourself a head start!

A dad combs his daughters hair.

How To Brush Your Child’s Hair So That It Doesn’t Hurt

Brush your child’s hair when it’s wet. Wet hair is more elastic and less likely to break. If your child has thick or curly hair, you may want to brush it in the shower or bath with a wide-tooth comb.

Be gentle. Start at the ends of your child’s hair and work your way up. If you encounter a tangle, gently loosen it with your fingers before brushing it through.

Take breaks. If your child’s hair is especially tangled, take breaks to let them rest. Don’t force the brush through their hair, as this can cause pain and breakage.

A mom combs her daughters hair.

Special Considerations To Make Brushing Your Child’s Hair Pain-Free

  • If your child has curly hair, use a wide-tooth comb or detangling brush to gently detangle their hair. Avoid using a regular brush, as this can pull and frizz their hair.
  • If your child has thick hair, you may want to section it off before brushing. This will make it easier to detangle and brush each section thoroughly.
  • If your child has sensitive skin, use a mild shampoo and conditioner. You may also want to avoid using heat styling tools, as this can damage their hair and make it more prone to tangles.
  • If your child has any special hair needs, such as dreadlocks or braids, talk to their hairstylist about how to best care for their hair.

How To help Your Child Sit Still When Doing Their Hair

Having a child who sits still and is cooperative is half the battle when doing your kids hair! Here are a few ideas to help:

Distract Distract Distract

  • Let them watch a video or play a game. This is a great way to keep their attention focused away from their hair. You can let them watch their favorite TV show, movie, or YouTube video, or play a game on your phone or tablet.
  • Tell them a story. Kids love stories, so this is a great way to keep them entertained while you do their hair. You can tell them a story about their favorite character, or make up your own story.
  • Play games with them. There are many different games that you can play with your child while you do their hair. For example, you can play a game of “Simon Says” or “I Spy.”
  • Sing songs. Singing songs is another great way to keep your child entertained while you do their hair. You can sing their favorite songs, or make up your own songs.
  • Give them a snack. If your child is getting restless, you can give them a small snack to eat. This will help to keep them occupied while you finish doing their hair.
A young girl combs her hair.

Ways To Make Brushing Your Child’s Hair A Positive Part of Their Day

Let Your Child choose their own hairstyle: This will give them a sense of control and make them more likely to cooperate. You can also let them choose what types of ribbons, bows, or clips they want in their hair.

Have your child help: Once major tangles are out, let your child help brush their own hair. This builds their confidence and independence. It also gives them a sense of more control.

Give them a special brush or comb: Let your child choose their own brush or comb, or give them a special brush or comb that is just for them. This will make them more likely to want to use it.

Use a mirror: Children love to look at themselves in the mirror, so you can use this to your advantage. Let them hold a mirror while you do their hair, or let them watch themselves in the mirror as you style their hair.

Allow Your Child To Comb YOUR Hair: Make things a little more fair by letting your child comb your hair. Kids love combing their parents hair, and if they run into knots, you’ll gain a little more empathy for how they feel!

Remember To Use Lots Of Positive Reinforcement

  • “You’re sitting so still, good job!”
  • “I love your hair, it’s so soft and shiny.”
  • “You have such beautiful hair.”
  • “You’re doing such a great job of helping me brush your hair.”
  • “You’re such a good helper.”
  • “I’m so proud of you for sitting still and letting me brush your hair.”
  • “You look so handsome/beautiful with your hair brushed.”
  • “Your hair looks amazing!”
  • “I love how your hair looks today.”
  • “You have such a great sense of style.”
  • “You’re such a good listener.”
  • “Thank you for being so patient.”
  • “I love spending time with you.”

Final Thoughts:

When we are prepared and we take the time we need to brush gently, doing our children’s hair won’t be a battle. In fact, it will become a bonding time our kids look forward to! Mornings don’t have to be painful. They can be treasured moments we spend with our children.

If you have any questions, or want to share some of your tricks and tips to better hair brushing please comment below!

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