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Too Sensitive?

My 18 month daughter screams and screams whenever I wash, comb or style her hair or try to clip her finger and toe nails. I try and be very gentle, but she thrashes around so I end up pulling her hair or having to hold her down with my legs or something. I feel like I'm torturing her! Every once in a while I get her distracted with something and she'll sit just fine for me. TV doesn't work. Food doesn't work. I don't want to cut her hair, and I can't let her fingernails turn into claws....what has worked for you?? Is it a phase? Is she just sensitive? Is it stubborness? If I let her hair stay down, it's in her face all day. Help!

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Thanks for all the advise! I'm giving some thought to just cutting her hair, but I'm going to try some of the other things first. Letting her help at bathtime and having some special toys to play with only when I'm styling her hair or cutting her nails. I might try doing that at night but she's not a realy sound sleeper, so we'll see how it works. I also really like the idea of giving her a doll so she can brush the doll's hair while I brush her hair. Thanks so much ladies!

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Cut her nails when she is sleeping. The hair thing is a tuff one. My daughter still has trouble with the hair. Try using conditioner diluted in a spray bottle. Let her spray it and use a big tooth comb that she picks out. I've tried all kinds of things. Some have worked and some haven't. If she wants it long then explain that if she doesn't let you fix it then it will look like a wicked old witch's hair. Otherwise keep it short.

T........as a mother of three, youngest 15, I can remember this scenario. Awe.............
Try putting her in the tub, and once she is relaxed, and you too.........clipping and combing will be a breeze.

Try clipping her nails when she is asleep. As for her hair I have an eight year old that I fight with. Good luck.

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Dear T.,

Two things to share with you. Hopefully one of them at least will help you feel better. My husband has cousins, two of them to be exact, with highly sensitive hair follicles. It really does hurt to cut, comb, wash. They are even growing up now (I think Mack is 15, Liz is around 12). For as long as I can remember, Mack's hair has been a buzz cut, that is just what works best for him. Liz has her hair long, and 90% of the time it is in a loose pony tail. Now your daughter is 18 months. She may be suffering from sensitive hair follicles OR she could just hate having her hair done. LIke my daughter who is now 6. I had a hell of a time doing her hair until she was 5. Now and then she'd get the yen to have her hair done and we'd give it a try. She just wouldn't sit still, and couldn't handle it most of the time. One thing that did help was doing her hair in front of the TV or a toy that sits still in her lap. So use something to distract her that doesn't move too far. You may have to do what I did and give up on having a cute kid until she's got her wiggles out. Use a good conditioner so that her hair is silky soft and doesn't knot easily and insist that it get brushed before you go anywhere and definitely before and after nap or bedtime. And maybe cut some bangs for her so her hair stays out of her face. You could try cutting it when she's out cold at naptime or bedtime. But be careful. You know scissors are sharp no matter when you are using them. OR, a cute clip for her bangs to stay out of her face? Just one, and chose one that doesn't slip out, doesn't rip hair, and is barely there. I know hard to do.
Finger and toenails, I let my husband do that. Our daughter doesn't sit still STILL for me for that. Maybe have grandma do it when she visits. It isn't that you're doing it wrong, (and this may sound harsh) but it may be that YOU are doing it. I think my daughter likes me only to do certain things and that is the spot I am to stay in. I hope that isn't your case, but maybe it is.

Hope that helped!!
V., PTSAHM mother of 1 girl age 6.

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Hi T., I had a similar problem with my daughter as well at that age. She's 22 months now and fusses a little but generally she's come to enjoy/accept it.
What we did was I started letting her brush my hair, her doll's hair, her teddy bear's hair. I would tell her she's helping mama take care of her hair, she liked doing that. I wouldn't follow up with brushing her hair, just let her brush mine. We bought a special brush just for her hair, and I let her brush her own hair. We also made up a song about brushing our hair. Now, when I need to brush her hair, I let her brush mine at the same time I brush hers. I let her know she's so helpful for brushing mama's hair and making it pretty. Sometimes before I actually brush I'll just sit with her and "massage" her head, neck by lightly running my fingers around (I run my fingers through her hair to get some of the big snarls out very subtly).
She's generally much better, sometimes she objects a little so I just drop it and try again in 15-20 minutes. You don't want it to become an experience that she loathes and dreads. If she is really fighting you, throw a hat on her head if you're heading out and try again when you get back.
Nails are trickier, I let her watch me trim the cats nails, trim my nails. We made up a song about this too, but sometimes I can only get 2-3 nails at a time :)
I hope this helps. :)

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This is a very normal phase. I have been there as all mom's have at some point (whether it is hair or clothes or eating). Children want control and they should be given it. This is her body. There are some things we can't "make" kids do. I suggest you give your daughter a choice such as who will brush her hair. ie. "Do you want mommy or daddy to brush your hair today?"

You can take her to the store and let her pick out her "own" brush. My sister bought each of my girls one of those really big toothed detangling combs that curve near the base. These work great on wet hair. They really liked them especially after swimming lessons.

Also, just as others have suggested, get some spray-on detangler. There are lots available. Let your daughter smell them so that she can choose the one she likes the best.

Lastly, please remember that this is HER hair. If it tangles easily, perhaps you need to question your reasons for not cutting it for her benefit. You have your own hair that you get to choose how long to keep it. Maybe it would be best to let hers be shorter for a while until she can accept the care it requires if the other motivators don't work.

Remember that you are blessed to have a free thinking independent daughter and you need to guide her without crushing that spirit!

From one mom of a strong willed child to another, good luck and enjoy!

Have you ever heard of sensory intergration therapy. It's usually offered by occupatioanl therapists to children who exhibit signs of sensory overload. Sensory overload can happen with any or all senses: sight, smell, touch, taste, and/or hearing. My now 16 year old has had this since birth. We tried the therapy, but couldn't really keep up with it. He seems to be a little more tolerant the older he gets. My suggestion is that you are very sensitive to your child's discomfort. Not liking to have this done is very real for her. Get her hair cut short so you can quickly get it combed out. I know, getting their hair cut is a feat in and of itself! Talk to her, at a time when you are not needing to comb her hair, and tell her you know she doesn't like getting her hair combed but you are going to be very careful when you have to do it. Ask her if she would like to do it herself and if she does let the job she does be good enough. As for her finger nails, you can try hand and arm massage with or without lotion to help her adjust to touch on those parts of her body. These types of kids often prefer firm touch, but you can feel that out for yourself. It's possible she may not like this. You should do this every day and especailly right before you cut her nails. All that being said, let me make it clear, I'm not an occupational therapist; just a mom who's lived through this. Also, good news lots of kids don't like these chores and many of them just grow out of this stage of objection.

It depends on how your child sleeps, but you could try clipping her nails while she is taking a nap. I don't know what to do about the hair situation.

My daughter was also like that, she is now almost 6 and does her hair herself (thank goodness)but still will not do the ponytail or braid thing. When she was little I would give her a brush and while she was "brushing" I would sneak my brush inbetween her strokes. It seemed to work fairly well. As for the finger and toe nails I kept a clipper in the car and when she would fall asleep in her carseat I would clip what I could before I moved her. Sometimes I would only get a few done at a time but was able to keep them under control. Good luck.

Hi. I am a mother of 5 kids. My two oldest are boys, and did the same thing you described. I clipped their nails while they were asleep- they were never the wiser if I did so. About the washing and doing hair, my boys had short hair, so I just told them we'd be fast and assured them that I loved them while we worked. They really did grow out of it. For my boys who are now 8 and 6, it was just a phase. Good luck!

I have a 21 month old daughter who has tons of hair so I have to do it. I've found that once she got used to me doing it, she's better about holding still. When we started out I would do her hair in her car seat right as we were leaving to go places. I've also done it while she was strapped in her high chair. Now I can just have her sit on our bathroom toilet and she's pretty good. As far as fingernails, I really like using the little scissors that are made for cutting fingernails. They are easy to use and I just do it when she's on her changing table after a bath. My daughter is a stubborn kid, but she will hold still when I sing songs or make a game out of things. She is also old enough that if I tell her she has to get her hair done or we can't play/go somewhere she's pretty good about listening.

I played a little game with my child...I would take her hand and say, I hear an owl?!!! Do you hear it? Shhhh! And she would stop and listen, then I would continue with other animals. Just a funny little thing I would do and it worked. Good luck! Distraction is the key!

Unless it's terribly dirty, I let my daughter shampoo and condition her own hair. She likes being big enough to do it herself. I get a mirror so she can see how soapy her hair is....sometimes she needs to rub it more...or in different places. we keep a towel close so she can dry her eyes if they get wet/soapy.

a friend bought my daughter a very soft brush. It does NOT get all the tangles out, but it does OK. If she has lots of tangles, I do braids. We also bought spray-on conditioner. she lets me do her hair as long as I remember to put that on first. I let her pick out her own clips.

with my oldest, I'd clip her nails after she fell asleep. Ya know - on the days she's been running around so much I know she'll sleep through it. With my other children, I just live through the screaming.

My 3 1/2 year old daughter was born with more hair than most 1 year olds have. They could see it on her ultrasound! Now her hair is down to her butt, and she HATES to have it cared for, and is terrified of having it cut. It has been a daily battle for us. The one thing that seems to help with hair (and nails) is to play "beauty shop". I let her pick out the barretts and/or hair ties that she wants, and then she gets to pick how she wants her hair done. I let her hold a little hand mirror, and I pretend that I am giving her a make over. This works for the nails too--pretend you are at the salon getting petticures. Sure, it is a huge production, but it's actually kind of fun, if you have the time. Some mornings when we are in a hurry, it doesn't go so well! I also let her do MY hair, which can be very unpleasant, but I think it makes her feel better about having her hair tugged on if she can return the favor! There are still many days when I wish we could just chop her hair into a cute little easy to maintain haircut, but she would be traumatized, I think. Good luck, I know how awful that screaming can be!

Try clipping her nails when she is asleep. As for her hair I have an eight year old that I fight with. Good luck.

T., I learned to do my daughters hair or anything else she 'screamed' about while she is asleep, usually after her bath. It worked out great and when her hair is wet, use a good leave in conditioner so you can braid her hair or put pony tails in it. I was surprised to see that it looked better in the morning than when I had to fight with her while she was awake. I was active duty Navy at the time so there were a few times when I couldn't do her hair at night so I learned to distract her with her favorite movie or cartoon (usually something I could sing along with her on like SpongeBob theme song). This worked and it provided some more bonding Moma-daughter time for us as I also have a son almost 4 years oldr.

I use to cut my sons' nails when they were into the heavy sleep portion of their nap! As for her hair-I would not torture her anymore. I would cut it!

i had to respond to this one. have her checked out by an infant toddler program in your area. this could be a sensory issue which i am very familiar. i have one child who is diagnosed with autism and one who is getting help for possible bi polar and a younger son who is displaying signs (like this one) of autism. sensory issues usually are a red flag for help. it is free to get her evaluated at your local health and welfare. early intervention is key.

Hello T.
:) I have a BA in English, also. ESL teaching, and now I major in English literature teaching, still a college student, although a teacher :).
Now, to the topic:
I used to be extremely sensitive, and my mom's combing and making my braids was a sheer torture.
When she left me with my grandmothers, I did not allow them to brush me at all, and went to school like a scarecrow. I had a great teacher, she was very loving, caring, and gentle. On the lunch break, she took me to the teachers' room, pulled out a soft brush from her shelf, and brushed me slowly and gently, starting from the very tips (ends) of the hair, and going up very slowly, and if I said 'AI!" as it hurt, she took the brush out of the hair, and went lower down, very slowly moving from the ends, up higher to the head, so that hair untangled very smoothly. She was the only adult who did not hurt me. I remember, how my aunt invited me to the theatre to see the Peppi Longstocking play. I was so excited,and wanted to go, but AFRAID, as she said that she will take me there only if I allow her to brush and comb my hair as I need to look nice. Oh well, finally I decided, but I asked for one bonus: I asked my aunt to braid my plaits exactly as Peppi's red braids were braided: namely, the 'tails' curling sticking all the way up into the air. I can still remember, this caused a lot of pain, as in order for the braids to stick up and out, you need to braid them very-very tight, but the excitement was so huge, I was still happy. :)
So, no, your little treasure-girl is not pretending, it does hurt some people much more.
Advice: Do not ever PULL on the brush or comb, but do like my teacher did.
Suggest your girl, that today you will try a totally different method of brushing, and go slowly, as slow as you can: you're a SAHM, right, so you should have some time for it.
If she does not like her hair pulled together into a ponytail, or somehow 'attached', then you can cut her hair only in front of her face, and let the rest of the hair loose along her shoulders and down the back, it will be neat, and away from her eyes and face... go gently, slowly, LOVINGLY!

One more experience I had: I raised a boy, I had him in my family for a year, we could not adopt him as his mom refused to give him away, but he was like a foster kid for us. He was STARVING, this 'mom' starved him to the point when he did not want to eat anymore, he was simply fading away. When my sons and he, they went outside to play, then my boys were storming running around like crazy, happy as can be, but this boy, he just sat down kneeling by the porch, looking around, and finally fell asleep, sitting like this. He was almost 5 years old, but so weak. The biggest pain was bathing. When I scrubbed him with the little towel, he started crying, saying that it hurts so bad his skin. I still had to wash him clean, so i tried to be gentler, but he winced and almost cried sometimes. I did not take it so seriously until when about half a year later, he came to me once and said: "You know, Mom, when I pinch myself like this (and he demonstrated a slight pinching of his skin on the arm with his little thumb and a pointer finger), and when I rub my skin like this (with his palm), it DOES NOT HURT ANYMORE. and he was all smiles. I could never think of his skin being SO sensitive to touch, but now I realized finally that he was not pretending when I was bathing him. Maybe it was because of his starving, I do not know, but it started getting better overtime. It was hard to feed him in the beginning, he was not even hungry anymore, and told me: "I cannot eat these pancakes", and I asked: "Why?"
He had an answer: "Because they are ROUND!" "Okay," I said,"I will make your pancakes square then", and I really made them square, or cut them in half to make triangles. The trick worked, as he could not come up with more convincing ideas on why he 'cannot eat pancakes", and in several months, although eating not much at one meal, he asked right-away: "May I get something to eat VERY SOON again?" He was munching indeed.
I cried a lot, looking at him, but we got him back to life.

I know Your daughter is not so sensitive because of starving,and I was fed well also, when my hair was so sensitive to touch. But this is real, please know it: it hurts.
The last note: my son did not allow anyone to touch his hair, EXCEPT for me, his mom. You know how people like 'petting' the kids on their heads... my boy ducked down on the first sign of such a friendly petting coming, and ran away to take a different position in the room. sometimes he even politely said: "NO!" but his firm voice was very convincing.

So, please, have a lovely environment at home, and also, I think, to gain your girl's trust now, after so many sessions of painful hair-brushing, maybe if you ask her to brush YOUR hair, to make it a mutual experience, maybe it would help a little to restore the peace, trust, and love during grooming :)
I wish you both all the best, T.!

My son is not that sensitive, but he is hard to work with. I've had success lately with trimming his favorite stuffed animal's nails. He seems to think it's okay if his stuffed animal goes first, and then he lets me trim his nails. So now I've been using it to get anything I want! ;-)

Hi T.,
My 2 1/2 year old son is also very sensitive to us doing things to him. We found that if we clipped his finger nails and toe nails when he's asleep it works. Nap time is better because there is more light and we don't need to pull out the flashlight. :)
Hopefully it's just a phase because my son is starting to get better with the hair combing and cutting. Sometimes I give him the comb or brush and let him do my hair. It kind of turns into a little game.
I feel your frustration and I hope that those things will begin to change for the better as she grows.

Sometimes I've found that letting someone else trim the nails, like someone sitting with us in Church, usually worked best. My daughter also like an emery board better than clippers for awhile.

You could try letting her brush your hair in exchange for letting you brush hers. I have known moms who comb hair while the child is sleeping!

Ok, my dd is 3 yrs and still screams with these things. I wait until she is asleep now to do her nails. As for the hair, she is just barely starting to realize that she looks prettier with her hair at least combed. I still can't get her to let me "do" her hair. But she does sometimes see someone else with a ponytail or barrettes and she wants them too. I think it's a phase for some girls.
Hopefully we're reaching the end of it. If I can get her hair wet and combed each day, I count it as a good day. My stylist also suggested, and it's working, to put a little hair spray on her hair when it's wet to hold the look.
That way she doesn't look quite like a little urchin all day. :-) Hope it helps. -L.

Hi T....my middle daughter who is now 7 was the same way and at a calmer level, still is. I found clipping her nails while she was sleeping would work now and then. Putting her in a high chair in front of a show she likes also worked a bit...I'd get about 3 or 4 nails done. I just had to resign myself to the fact that they might not all get clipped at one time, but they would eventually get clipped here and there. The hair thing, well, I just did and still do as little as possible. She's 7 now and I let her take care of her own hair because it's still such an issue. I just reserved fixing her hair (and still do) for pictures and special occassions...otherwise if it is clean and brushed, that's fine. I've done the same thing with getting her hair brushed...let her watch a show while I'm doing it and always use tangle spray and water no matter what. As far as cutting hair goes, I compromised...I didn't boy-cut my daughter's hair when she was little, but did get it cut into a just above the shoulder bob...hair isn't worth the torture to me or to my child. Now, I let her tell the hairdresser how she wants her hair cut and I leave it alone (as hard as that is for me)...it's her hair, not mine!


It sounds as if she may have been hurt while having this type of care at some point in her past. Try to make the event fun and be very careful not to cut too short (nials are very thin and very easy to go too short on babies or small children and that does really hurt) or she may have had her hair pulled while combing it. Have you tried to trim her nails while she is sleeping? Putting ribbons or bows in your hair and then try seeing if she wants to look like mommy, some kids love ribbons and bows to look "Pretty" and they love to copy mommy!

I love children and have had a lot of experience with child care and raised three of my own. I wish you luck with her and hope this can help to resolve the issue.

It was a real struggle to get my daughter to sit still for nail clippings. The only way I can cut my daughters nails is to make weird and funny noises each time I clip down. She now waits in anticipation to see what funny noise I'm going to make next.

It could just be a phase. My daughter wouldn't let me touch her hair at that age either, and hers was always in her face, and she would grab at the brush and push me away or just try to duck out of the way. Eventually she learned to push her hair aside on her own, and even now she complains about me brushing her hair, and even when I do get something in it, she eventually grabs it out (she's a little more than 3 1/2 now). She will at least let me do it now though. Maybe your daughter just doesn't like her hair played with. It can't hurt to get her checked out for sensory problems though.

A few ideas:
-Let daddy or somebody else do it.
-put stickers on her toes after you clip them.
-go to the store together and let her buy a super special just-for-her hairbrush.
-groom after a bath at bedtime, with a couple of drops of lavender oil in the bath, or bits of chammomile tea, or melaleuca oil. These are all relaxants, and softer nails are easier to cut and put less pressure on the finger/toe tips
-get a hose sprayer thing for hair rinsing, and wash hair seperately in the shower instead of bath, letting her hold the sprayer on low pressure until you need it.

My little girl is 5 and is just now getting past "mom is torturing me when she grooms me"

Try clipping her nails while she sleeps (I had to do that for a long time with my son), or maybe rewarding her after by painting her nails. You could go let her pick out her own special bottle of polish that is only for her nails. My son usually won't hold still while I do his hair so what I did was get him one of those childrens toothbrushes that oscilates (sp) kids are facinated with those things. It kills two birds with one stone, he is distracted while I do what I need to plus his teeth are getting clean.

I would try clipping her finger and toe nails when she is asleep. That worked for me. As for her hair I think she is just overreacting. I used to have daughters that did that until I told them I was going to cut off all their hair. In my case the threat worked great. If she continues to fuss then I would seriously consider giving her an easy to do hair cut and then let it grow out. That way she might get used to the brushing and combing little by little. Hope this helps!

Have you tried getting her involved with her own hair. Let her brush it and see if she does a better job or praise her for fixing it and maybe she will let you do it again. Or just let her hair be and see how long it takes before she wants something done with it. Take a picture of her with it messed up and one when it looks great then compare. What does she like best. Good luck!

Good morning! I had the same dealings and here is what I did. When she goes to sleep start trimming those fingers and toes. They sleep right through it! As for the hair. I went and bought a doll with long hair. She would brush her hair while I brushed my daughters hair. Then she wanted to help me more and more and soon she was brushing her own hair.

You have a great deal of structure in your life if you have accomplished so much. Perhaps you can try a little play strategy with your daughter like having a little tea party with her dolls or a friend. She'll want to look "pretty" with her hair brushed and "shiny" and she will surely want to have her nails polished, but they need to be filed like "ladies" do. Make such problems part of a game until she's enjoying the process--Mama's "beauty shop" including cape and a mirror! All of this not necessarily at the same time depending on her level of focus.
I'm a great grandmother, P.

My head was always extremely sensitive when I was young and I would cry whenever my hair was done. I am a daycare provider and I brush and re-do everyone's hair after nap time. I have had a few that scream when the parents do it but sit fine for me and others around 18 months that just don't want to sit sometmes and have their hair done. If you want their hair done you'll have to get through the phase or just cut it short.


Cut her nails when she is sleeping. The hair thing is a tuff one. My daughter still has trouble with the hair. Try using conditioner diluted in a spray bottle. Let her spray it and use a big tooth comb that she picks out. I've tried all kinds of things. Some have worked and some haven't. If she wants it long then explain that if she doesn't let you fix it then it will look like a wicked old witch's hair. Otherwise keep it short.

Have her crwal 20 minutes a day. It could be a birthing reflex that is still not broken.

I have the same problems with my three-year-old daughter, and you're not doing anything wrong, I'd definitely say it's just a phase. Detangler works great when you're dealing with the hair brushing or combing, highly recommended, and also combing her hair while it's wet right after washing it in the tub with a wide tooth comb is good. Oh, washing the hair, I gave my daughter a cup and let her pour water over her own head, and she was really happy to do that, and stopped screaming when I washed her hair. It was all about getting water and soap in her eyes; even the no more tears shampoo bothered her eyes, so if she could control the water, she was happy. My daughter also loves to have her hair dried with the hair dryer, so she knows that when she gets her hair washed, we'll dry it afterwards, and I comb it while I dry it sometimes too. I don't try to style her hair much, just throw some barrettes in it when I can.

And what I do with the fingernails and toe nails, which has worked like a charm, is to tell my daughter that I will put nail polish on her finger nails and toes only if I can cut them first. So I cut five fingernails, put polish on them, cut five more, put polish on, and then we move on to the toes. It probably easier with an older child that you can reason with, but maybe it could work for you! It's not really a bribe, just an incentive.

Hi T.,
I can understand your frustration w/ wanthing to take care of her hair. Have you tried "Taking Turns" combing her hair; letting her have a very special brush of her own, letting her comb your hair & her own. This will give her a sense of control that she may be after. I would descourage from holding her down w/ you legs, it's not worth the battle to have her associate getting her hair done w/ mommy doing this to her. I can understand because I have 3 children, the 1st two are boys & know I have my little girl whose 3. I have always wanted to put her hair up in Piggies, Ponies, etc. but she just hates it & ends up pulling it out. I did find she does well w/ really soft & streachy headbands. This might not be appropriate for your daughter, unless you will be w/ her at all times. So, it's just hair right? No good mom will judge you if your daughters hair is a little messy. We know exactley how it is.
As for the nails, my 1st son didn't like having this done either. I found it best to do it while he was sleeping. Or I would close another pair & let him pretend he was cutting his at the same time.
Hope this helps,
SAHM of 3 (9,7,&3)

T........as a mother of three, youngest 15, I can remember this scenario. Awe.............
Try putting her in the tub, and once she is relaxed, and you too.........clipping and combing will be a breeze.

I think most kids don't like their hair combed. One thing that would help me was to have them hold something. Like a favorite toy, or something they are interested in. Maybe even something they haven't seen before. A cookie, some fruit, etc helps. I don't call it bribing I call it postive reinforcement. To let them watch in the mirror would help too.

I think it's a phase. My daughter (almost 3) used to be great about getting her hair washed and done. Now she throws fits. She cries every time I wash her hair and I have tried everything and nothing is working, so she just cries through it. Sometimes she's good about letting me do her hair (which I've been doing since it was long enough at 4 months) other times she's cries. And I don't want to cut her hair either, so I've just learned that somedays her hair is just going to not have any barrets or ponytails and in her face.

As for the nail cutting, I know it's terrible, but I bribe her. I'll let her have a little piece of chocolate or a cookie if she sits still. And that always works.

Just know you're not alone.

wow. lol. my son always sits still for the fingernails, we have always done them from the beginning together. we don't paint them, but afterwards, we sit and eat something that we both like together, it could be ice cream, or fruit, whatever he really likes! the hair washing thing, well, my husband conquerd that for me. my son 'hates' his hair washed. don't know why, its never gotten in his eyes, never have I scrubbed toooo hard. he lets his dad do it, but me, i walk out of the bath tub soaked and completely dressed. lol.

i think once they get some food of some sort stuck in their hair, they realize having it pulled back is better. my son wanted his hair longer, till he accidently fell asleep with some fig newtons. its now cut shorter. lol.

There are several things you can do to help with these things.

-Clipping nails-some people do hate this feeling! Do it right after a bath because it doesn't feel the same. Do it it her sleep. Are you cutting them too short? Ask another mom or two you know to take a look at that.

-Washing hair-My niece always hated having her hair washed until my sister actually found out it was getting water in her ears that bothered her. She bought a plastic sun visor and put it on her when she rinsed her hair so the water would drain back away fro her face and ears. Also--do you use your finger tip and nails to scrub her head or the pads of your fingers? If you use you finger tips you could be inadvertently scratching a sensitive head. As well-what kind of shampoo do you use? If the has a sensitive scalp the shampoo may be irritating her skin, try a natural shampoo.

-Lastly-doing her hair. You might not like this response. Is the vanity of an 18 month old worth the battle you are having every time you do her hair? You don't want to cut her hair because why? You want her to look like a girly girl??? Trim her hair shorter FOR NOW. As it grows out you can get her use to the brush, comb, clips and so on as it gets longer again. Which is more valuable to you-a fancy hairdo or your little girls happy face?

As well--I know everyone is good intentioned by saying "bribe her to do it" but that sets up a bad example for the future when you want her to do something. You should not bribe your kids to do things at a young age. You may think to yourself--"they are only 1 or 2 or 3 it won't matter later---well it does.

As far as cutting your daughter's fingernails, you may want to wait until nighttime, when you are completely sure that she is asleep. My neighbor just recently stopped having to sneak in her son's room to cut his nails...and he is 10. It may be a phase or maybe she is simply afraid of what "might" happen to her. At any rate, at least you can try to minimse some of the upset by cutting her nails when she is asleep.

It is called POWER STRUGGLE! I played "beauty shop" with my daughter when she was younger and wiggly. My daughter loved it, we would just pretend we are at the beauty shop and I got her hair brushed and done, nails clipped. I also started clipping nails in the bathtub, they are busy with bubbles and soaking, the nails are softer and easier to see too that way. Yes she is probably being stubborn, I am sure it will pass and she will shift gears about something else to be independent about soon enough, hee hee. Hang in there. Kids need to learn getting ready and looking nice is important. For my daughter too I let her pick out good smelling tangle spray for her hair and she loved it! I also gave her bangs so it wasn't a struggle having it in her face anymore...get her hair cut so it isn't in her face if she won't let you pull it back. I found with clips and so on they will pull it out just to prove they can, so do what you need to.

Not to scare you or anything but My daughter and son both have the same thing. My son who is 9 months was diagnosed with Sensory Deffensiveness. I am in the process of getting my 3 year old tested. It is mainly like you said a sensitive problem to certian touches tastes, textures etc. my son does physical and occupational therapy but my daughter does play therapy and they are the ones who think she should be tested. might as your pediatrician just for more advice!

Clip her nails after she is sound asleep at night. Usually about 45 minutes or an hour after they fall asleep works well.

T., you got lots of good advise but here is a couple of ideas. I used to babysit and before the parents were going to start coming to get their kids, I always wanted the kids to look nice incase they had to go somewhere on the way home.

So, one by one I would put them on the kitchen counter and wash faces, hands and arms. Then it was the hair. Most of them didn't mind but there were those little girls with much too long hair that snarled if you looked at it. I bought some stuff that was called a Detangler. I don't know if they have it anymore (30 yrs ago) but i would spray that into their hair and then fix it with poney tails or braids or barrettes.

But the think I did was this. I told them that we had to get beautiful for mommy when she came to get them. So if they fussed, I would say "It sometimes hurts to get beautiful" for mommy, but mommy will love how nice you look. Then when mom came i would always say to her doesn't Amber look beautiful and of course she would say yes and comment on how she looked. During naps if they had spilled on their shirt I would take it off and put one of the shirts i kept for that purpose, and wash and dry the shirts that were dirty. So when it was about time for mom (Dad's didn't get kids in those days) to come we started with the washing up, then the clean shirt and then the hair.

I don't remember if i ever cut their nails or not, but i didn't have a problem with my own kids. the hair washing i did like others with a washcloth over the face and pouring the water over the head. I used to say: Hey Mister, give me some more water!! in a sing song way and they would laugh at that and i used a big 2 or 3 quart pitcher so it only took two times.

One gal suggested polishing her nails after cutting them and that might work really well.

Enjoy your little ones and don't sweat the small stuff!!


My oldest son began doing this around 3 years old. I was getting highly frustrated which caused a not so good evening with him. So, I talked with my husband and had him sit with me and my son at the same time I was clipping his nails. Husbands/Daddies just have a way about them that commands respect and obedience and I am so thankful for a husband that uses those characteristics in a loving, responsible manner. Hence, when my son would begin his fit, Dad spoke, took appropriate action if necessary, and he sat for me (Dad had to calm him down several times through). We also chose to let Dad do the clipping and our son didn't dare react the same way in Daddy's lap as he did mine. I suggest both because even though Dad's lap may mean no fuss, our children need to know they have to respect and obey Mom as well.
This worked for us, possibly for you too? I do hope you find a way that works best for you and your family.

I've found an excellent distracting tool: a used/unwanted CD or CD ROM. Hand it to her and she can see herself (her favorite subject), rainbows and other things, plus put her finger through the hold in the middle and spin it. Obviously, she should be supervised due to potentially sharp edges, but otherwise, she can't get it in her mouth. Plus, on the other side there may be words, or pictures, or all sorts of things. For a short-term distraction I never did find a better substitute.

I was told to start really early doing these things so that your child is just used to it... I didn't so I have much the same kind of problems as you. Some of it is a phase... but some of the tricks we have found-
when washing her hair I give her a washcloth to cover her eyes while I am pouring water on her head to wet or rinse... for whatever reason it works, she sits there calmly and lets me do that.
The finger nails are tough and usually I need to catch her at a good time, and find a easy bribe... like if she is asking me to play with her- I will tell her I would love to play but we need to cut her nails first. If she wants it bad enough she will let me. Also making it a fun pampering time- we will paint our fingernails after we cut them-she loves that.
Styling hair is one we really struggle with and I feel bad that my kid always looks so unkempt but sometimes its not worth the struggle. I have had to resort to threats of time outs so that she will sit and allow me to put her hair up. It often helps if she is part of the choice- which hair band do you want to use the red one or the blue one, or do you want one ponytail or two? Sometimes just giving her a sense of being a part of the process is enough. Also my daughter loves to see in the mirror so we sometimes do her hair in front of the mirror where she gets to sit on the counter (very special privilage) and watch as I style her hair. The more we do this the easier it gets but I feel for you and totally understand. Good luck.

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