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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Teaching 'C' To Wash Her Own Hair

This post is not only about washing, but also about helping your child learn how to work up to washing.

C is 7 years old now and of course, she wants to do things for herself- that includes washing her own hair!  At first I wouldn't allow her to try and wash her hair on her own, because I was afraid she'd get her hands caught in her hair and pull it, causing breakage.  I realize she will have to learn sooner or later how to wash and care for her own hair, so I've been including her in washing time.  

C has learned that when wetting her hair, she has to push the water down to wet her hair- not rub her hands in it. The same thing goes for when she is conditioning.   Most of us already know this, but it's important to keep in mind that our little girls don't know.

(I hope no one finds this inappropriate!)

When it's time to wash C's hair, I divide her hair in half (with my hands) and then I separate a smaller section for C to work on.
I give her a handful of conditioner- I want to really stress that she needs extra! Then I tell her to rub it through her hair, from the top (roots) to the ends.  Then I explain to C that she needs to carefully run her fingers through her hair, starting from the bottom (the ends) and working her way up to the top...
Pretty much just all the basics, only I explain to C what I'm doing the whole time and guide her to do the same thing on her own.

So far C has been doing great!  I always make sure that her hair has been detangled the night before and put into a protective style.  That way, her hair doesn't need much finger detangling so it's fast and easy for her.

Here are some tips I've come up with...

As I already said, detangle the hair the night before, and put it into a protective style for sleeping. 
Make sure your child sleeps with a bonnet or uses a satin pillow case (you probably already do this anyway)
I like to let C detangle half of her hair while I do the other half.  That way she's not too overwhelmed with the amount of hair and she won't get discouraged about caring for it herself.
Once again, always give her extra conditioner.  While detangling the hair, be sure to watch your daughter carefully, and show her what to do when she gets to a spot that she can't get her fingers through.
Each time we wash C's hair, I specifically look for a section of hair where there's a tangle I can't just run my fingers through so that she can see how I work the tangle out.
When we are finished finger detangling C's hair, I have her take small sections of hair and squeeze, making the conditioner squish through her fingers.  That helps work it into the hair and makes it easier to get out excess conditioner.  (It's also fun for C)

I always make sure that C knows only I can use the scissors!  This is especially important, obviously!  :)  That way, your daughter won't go around cutting chunks out of her hair! 

*This is what worked for us to get C started with hair washing on her own...
I did all of the above, only I detangled all of C's hair on my own.  I rinsed that out, and then I let C help me work a leave in through her hair.  That way she got to get an idea of what to do without actually having to do any detangling.  :)

Washing hair alone is something most kids her age are already able to do (I'm stuck on keeping C 'little' as long as possible since she's my last baby!)   So if you are already allowing your child to wash their hair alone, what things did you do to help them learn and at what age did you teach them, or plan to teach them?
Come back tomorrow to see the simple style I did for C after her washing was done!  :)


  1. Good post. My daughter is 6 and as I was washing her hair in the shower last night I was just thinking "How can I start incorporating her into this routine?" Right now she is allowed to take down her braids before washing (usually just 1 or 2 big ones). She knows if she has a tangle to not rip through it and ask me for help. But I do want her to learn some basic things before she gets older and less patient.

  2. Aww...independent kids! i am dreading the day my girls start making those demands!

  3. This is great!!! My daughter is only 14 months old but she already attempts to ”wash” her just puts her hand in her hair but these are good tops for when she gets older and really wants to do it. She's my last baby too so I want her to stay that way as long as possible.


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