My Child Cries When Getting His Hair Washed

Just this weekend, I was with my cousin who told me that her very young child cries when getting his hair washed.  I reminded her that this is common.  All of my kids have cried about bath-time at some point during their infancy or toddler years.

We asked other parents what they have tried that helped their toddlers to get past this phase and they had some great answers.  Simple tips from DIY bath toys to singing might be all that you need.


Solutions for when child cries when getting his hair washed: 

  • Try wetting his hair with a wash cloth and not a cup of water.  
  • Try using a bathtub hat that keeps the water out of their eyes.
  • Let her watch movies where people wash their hair, like Mulan.  Then play Mulan in the tub. ~ Lisa M. Laura.   (Or the episode of Curious George where they are in the car wash.)
  • Keep a dry washcloth close by, to blot his eyes if any water gets into his eyes.
  • If your child has long hair that has been pulled back, put it down before bath time.   (Sometimes it hurts when you initially put it down, so you don’t want this to happen during bath time.)
  • Use a small towel to wash their hair (with shampoo and water on the towel.)
  • Try letting your child see you washing your hair.  Let them dump water on your head.
  • Add lots of toys to the bath, making it more fun.   Bring in some spoons and measuring cups, too.
  • Talk your way through it. “I am going to rinse your hair three times.   One. Two. Three.  Great job!  All done!”
  • Try to teach him to tilt his head back.  It is hard for them to understand, but it will really help.
  • Buy a specific fun cup (let your child pick it out at the store – grab one with their favorite character on it.)  This is their cup that ONLY this one child gets to use for hair-washing.  No one else can use it.
  • Try dry shampoo in and scale back on the hair-washing to once a week.
  • Give him a special toy that he can ONLY use while he is having his hair washed.
  • Have an older child demonstrate that it is fun and not scary.  (even by washing his/her hair in the sink).
  • Go really slowly, while washing his hair.
  •   Try a fun hand held shower head attachment, on a low setting.
  •  Blow bubbles in the tub when you are going to wash his hair.
  •  Try swimming lessons, where your toddler will learn to blog bubbles and go under the water.
  • “I usually say look at the bathroom light, so her head stays back and it doesn’t get in her ears or eyes. And we sing a song… Google take me out of the bathtub.  She loves this song!” ~Jen Ross
  • Use a sponge to wet his hair and rinse it out.
  • Use ear plugs when your child is in the bath tub.
  • Let your child wear fun goggles to wear in the bath tub.
  • Be silly and make bubbles on your face (make a bubble beard and let your child rinse it off.)
  • Try giving your child bath tub crayons to draw while you wash his hair.
  • Try using a product like this one (affiliate):


Bath time struggles can be frustrating and you can feel helpless, but it will end.  Keep trying and making you child feel safe.  Resist the urge to become frustrated or angry with your child.   Try making bath time fun and enjoyable for your child.    In the meantime, come to our Facebook page to continue this conversation and many others.

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