12 answers

Aversion to Having Water on His Head During Bathtime

My 3-yr-old nephew doesn't like having water poured on his head during bathtime and screams intensly when it's time to wash his hair. This has been going on since he was very young - 6 months old or so. The other parts of the bathtime ritual and swimming lessons (except for putting his head under water) fine. He also tries to keep his head out of the water when showering. Any suggestions for how to get him to be ok with washing his hair?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi K. -
My son Roland is the same way. A wise woman suggested I wash his hair in the kitchen sink. I lay him down on the counter and use the hose attachment. He can look at me and there is no water getting on his face. Now he is comfortable in the shower as long as he has a washcloth over his eyes in case anything runs down.
Good luck!
S. in Lisle

More Answers

I actually used to have this problem as a child, and I believe it was largely due to the fact that I had terrible ear infections. I hated getting water in my ears. I also hated getting it in my nose, but I think I was more terrified of getting it in my ears (because many times, I'd end up with an ear infection later).

Try some ear plugs that really fit well—maybe some wax ones that can conform to his ear shape and keep the water out. Does he get ear infections? That could be the reason. Some kids are just scared of water, though, and the only way to fix that is to get them used to it, I'd imagine. They just have to be around water more. I developed a slight fear of water because of my ear issue (and, of course, scary movies that involved scary things in water didn't help, either). Once I was around water a lot more, I became less and less scared. It takes time, but he can grow out of it. Poor kid.

Hi my grandson & great nephew had the same problem so I started with just putting there chin in water while we were in the pool this was a long process and we kept going little by little until I found the area they were afraid to get wet. my grandson did not like water in his ears the noise he said, it scared him so in the beginning ear plugs worked now that he is older its all good, my great nephew did not like the water in his nose or eyes so a nose plug & goggles helped him we even let him wear them in the shower he is slowly out growing them as well it takes time to find what scares them but if you take the time it will be worth it in the end good luck

My son has always had an aversion to water over his head. He is 10 now and still hates the shower for that reason. My son also hates to wash his hair. We went to counseling and it was suggested that we come to an agreement some where in the middle. I wanted every other day but that was too much to ask. We started with Sunday and Wednesday. Sunday was not a problem because he had to listen to me all day until he did it. Wednesday was a battle. I just started to lay off him for a few weeks because I could not take the battling any more. He has since come around and does it on his own. I also take him to the beauty shop for a haircut monthly and they give him a good scrubbing. If he wants something from me he will take a shower, wash his hair and ask me. He does not do that often. I get very excited, praise him for doing it himself and will reward him if it is not outrageous. Good luck with your nephew.

Hi K. -
My son Roland is the same way. A wise woman suggested I wash his hair in the kitchen sink. I lay him down on the counter and use the hose attachment. He can look at me and there is no water getting on his face. Now he is comfortable in the shower as long as he has a washcloth over his eyes in case anything runs down.
Good luck!
S. in Lisle

My son had the same problem for a while. I used a wash cloth to get as much of the soap out of his hair as I could. Also, I found something at wal-mart that has a rubber piece to go against the head to keep the water out of his face as I pour it over his hair. This worked like a charm.

This seems to be common with children. The thing that I tried with my grandsons when they were going through the same thing, was to have a play bucket or something and let them pour it over themselves. It seemed to help and the other thing that we tried was to get them swimming goggles and they also liked that. Good luck!!

Hi K.:

Hang in there. My daughter was the same way at bathtime. Nothing I did seemed to help quiet her down. I just had to grin and bear it. I know that's not much help but they do grow out of it. I too have no idea why she would cry. You don't have to wash their hair each time the take a bath. At times I would just take a wet rung out wash cloth first and get them used to that...no shampoo...just the feeling of that on the head....work in baby steps.....By the time my daughter accepted it she was about 4 yrs old and it happened overnight.
Now I can't kept her head above water in the pool...she loves going underwater. I would think that 3 yrs old is a little to young and dangerous to be in the shower. Good Luck and hang in there, with each age there comes wonderful surprizes, just go with the flow.....Linda Y.

i don't have this problem but maybe have a solution......they sell visors just for this purpose..sounds pretty dumb but the visor is somekind of foam and it helps keep water out of the babies eyes and face. they are really inexpensive at babies r us or someplace like that. goodluck

Good luck! I have two like that. My youngest has to put her fingers in her ears or she will just scream. The oldest is five now and better, but I have to have a towel handy so she can wipe any drips off her face. It really is a pain at times. I've always blamed myself because I always tried to avoid getting water in their face since they were little, but maybe it is something some kids go through.

And you are right. No issues at the beach or the pool...but they both won't put their head under the water.

There are visors out there (Walmart, Target, etc) that are hard plastic with a rubber moon-shaped front that might be just for what you're looking for. I use them on my 3 1/2 yr old and my 2 year old. My 2 year old still hates it, but it works. One thing I have my 3 year old do (while using the visor) is ask him to look up at the sky when we pour the water. It works very well. Hope this helps.

I try to keep the mood light when it comes to hair washing with my kids. We start the bath as usual. Picking out toys, taking clothes off, getting into the water, etc. Then I talk to them the whole time. Never talking about what we are doing, just chatter. Keeping the mood light. I then wet the top of their head with a washcloth. Not dumping water on their head, but getting the washcloth wet and then rubbing it on their head so that the hair is wet enough to add the shampoo. We lather up, still chatting. Acting as though everything is fine. Then the big moment -- I let them know that it is time to sing our ABC's and they need to lay back so we can get started. I help them back and hold the back of their head with one hand showing them that their face is not going to get in the water and then with the other hand quickly cup water in my palm and rinse their head, all the while singing the ABC's. They know the song. They know when it is almost over so they know that they aren't going to be in the water with their head back for long.

Your nephew's problem might not just be the water pouring over his head but also he might not like the water getting in his ears. Just a thought.

Try swimming goggles- it works for my son!!

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