18 answers

4 Year Old Chewing on Hair

my 4 year old chews on her hair all the time!! it makes me nuts its making her hair all nasty and hard to brush. I threatened to cut off her hair and she said ok... I really dont want to shave her head lol any ideas??? i keep her hair up in clips but its so fine it falls down..

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

You can try a pony tail for one and if the sides are short and will hang out, put them in barrettes or bows. Also, you can try to bribe....tell her that apparently she likes to eat her hair so she won't be needing any gum, candy, dessert, etc Whatever it is that she really likes. That would work with my kids! Or...you can put a hair gel or hair spray lightly on the ends that she sux on. I have gotten my hair in my mouth before b/c of the wind, etc and it tastes bad! Just until the habit is gone and then stop.

Good luck! W. M.

My daughter did the same thing. I had her hair cut short enough that it coundn't reach her mouth. It has grown out since then and she doesn't do it anymore. Sounds like all girls this age does this.

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I was a "chewer". There are some real cute haircuts for fine hair that will just get the front portion, at least, away from her face. It can be just short enough to not reach her mouth.

After she is out of the habit, she can always grow it back longer.

Hi E.,

My niece did the the same thing. My sister-in-law finally resorted to cutting bangs and a short style around her face, leaving the back a little longer. It looked real nice and kept her from getting her hair to her mouth. This is what will help her break the habit.
Good luck! D.

You can try a pony tail for one and if the sides are short and will hang out, put them in barrettes or bows. Also, you can try to bribe....tell her that apparently she likes to eat her hair so she won't be needing any gum, candy, dessert, etc Whatever it is that she really likes. That would work with my kids! Or...you can put a hair gel or hair spray lightly on the ends that she sux on. I have gotten my hair in my mouth before b/c of the wind, etc and it tastes bad! Just until the habit is gone and then stop.

Good luck! W. M.

It could be a sign of mineral deficiency - zinc and magnesium are two possibilities. When animals start chewing on their hair (like farm animals or rabbits) we automatically look at their diet. When humans do it, we don't think of it. Does she have white spots on her nails? That is also a sign of zinc deficiency. Many of us are deficient in magnesium because we don't eat enough green leafy veggies and it causes us to crave chocolate.

have it cut into a cute little swing bob. my daughter also has very fine hair, and the swing bob was her very best cut ever. it looked so much thicker, and was so much easier for me to wash and style for her. if she does not mind having it short, it is such a cute cut on little girls. unfortunately my daughter now wants it long long long, like Hannah Montana. i cant wait to outgrow Hannah.

I chewed on my hair even as a teenager. It's kinda a comfort measure. See if you can find something else she can use to comfort herself--basically it's like having a blankie or sucking your thumb. If you cut her hair, she needs to develop a new coping mechanism.

My daughter did the same thing. I had her hair cut short enough that it coundn't reach her mouth. It has grown out since then and she doesn't do it anymore. Sounds like all girls this age does this.

I'd cut it. I wouldn't want to, but it would be better to.

hate to say it but.... that just might be a habit that will persit trough life. my eldest did it and still does at the age of 36.

E.,
Cut it short enough that she cannot chew on it. Besides leaving her hair nasty, it's not good for her either. Hair is not digestible so if she chews off enough of it, it can cause digestive problems. And talk to her pediatrician. It may just be a nasty habit, but it could also be Trichophagia.
God Bless!
J.

I'd like to know what other say. You are not alone. My daughter will be 4 in May and does the same thing with the same results only she does not want me to cut her hair. I am feeling like that is my only choice. I won't shave her head, but I will cut it short enough that she can't get it in her mouth. I am hoping that she will get out of the habit as it grows back out.

I would cut it in a bob where she can't get it in her mouth. I did this to my daughter's hair about the same time because it was so stringy and fine it got tangles and looked messy all the time, made a huge difference!(And it is cute!)

Just cut it , If her hair is fine it will make it healthier to cut the baby hair off anyway. It should grow back thicker, and that's the thing it will grow back, so stop stressing and just cut it. Maybe by the time it grows back she won't chew on it anymore. Good Luck

Hi, When I was in High School back in the 58 my best friend had a little sister that was 4 years old at the time. One morning her mother was taking the children somewhere and when she went to back up in their sandy drive {they lived on a farm} the little 4 year fell out the window of the car and was runned over. They had to do surgery on her and the doctors found a ball of hair the size of an orange in her stomach. The doctor said if it wasn't for the accident the child would have died.Tell this story to your child. I have told it to many of children and it helped. If it doesn't, then cut her hair it will grow back later and just maybe she won't remember chewing on it.Pray with her about it also. May God Bless,
M.

I chewed on mine. I believe it was out of boredom at times and other times anxiousness. As I got older I twirled it instead. (Hair doesnt taste really good) Give her something else to do with her hands when you see her do this. It is like holding a blanket. It is a security that is always there. Many girls this age do this. If this is a new thing, she is probably anxious about the new sibling and she has "control" over this. She will still play with her hair if you "take it away".

as a hair dresser i can tell you...i see this sort of thing happening all the time. you really need to cut her hair off into a short little bob or some thing. that way she can't get in her mouth. she's going to really damage her hair by chewing on it and you'll probably end up having to cut it anyway. once she's over the habit and more able to care for her hair then you can begin to grow it back out.

My daughter also was a hair chewer. It was discusting. We found stuff like pudding, ketchup, even chicken nuggets in here hair. I also had to just go ahead and cut her hair into a cute bob. It really helped with hair chewing. She will sometime start to chew again if I let it grow to long and it's been about 3-4 years since we cut it. We are now working on general nervous habits. Biting nails, etc. I recommend that not only do you cut her hair, but also help her find a socially acceptable cooping mechanism. If not you may not like what she does instead.

Ok, I agree with all of the writers, it is best to cut her hair to break the habit, but the lady that told the story about hair in the stomach or intestines,is true. I have hear of several stories where children get wads of hair in their bodies that doesn't come out in the stool. You really need to be careful. Talk with your pediatrician. I have also heard that sometimes hairchewers lack certain vitamins or minerals and that's why they chew hair. You might want to ask an alternative health professional if there are herbs or vitamins that will help the situation. Good luck...

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