How Do You Wash Preschoolers Hair?

Updated on December 15, 2012
S.S. asks from Los Angeles, CA
16 answers

My son is 3 and he complains his neck hurts when I have him tilt his head back while sitting in the tub. Is there some kind of neck or back rest that facilitates hair washing of toddlers and preschoolers? Thanks!

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answers from Washington DC on

You can also have him lay down in the tub. Or you can have him cover his face with a washcloth. Or you can get a visor.

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answers from San Francisco on

Get one of those fan neck pillows and have him lean forward and rest his forhead on in so you can pour the water over the other way. Or cover eyes with a wash cloth and have him sit up straight--pour water with a big cup.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

We use tear free shampoo and I just dump cups full of water over my kids' heads to rinse it out. Sometimes they lean back, sometimes they don't. Sometimes they close their eyes, sometimes they don't.

Goggles sound fun though if your kid has issues with it, good call Eliza. They also sell those visor things, but who knows if they work? My mom used to give my sister and I a dry washcloth to hold over our eyes if we wanted.

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answers from Kalamazoo on

Swimming goggles and a small bucket! The toddler doesn't have to lean his head back at all, (just tell him when, and pour it over) and he has a blast. Apparently, goggles make showers fun, too. :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

My guy is three, too, I use no tear shampoo, he keeps his eyes closed and I pour McDonalds sized drink cups of water over his head, he doesn't lean back at all, so I'm no help :-/

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

My daughter used to complain as well. It was because she was hunching her back and trying to tilt her head back. When I got her to sit up straight as a board, she didn't have to try and tilt back so far and it stopped hurting her neck. Another thing I did was gave her a washcloth and just had her hold it over her eyes while only slightly tilting back, because some days she was just obstinate and didn't want to sit up straight because apparently that's a huge effort. That way the washcloth catches all the "eye drippers" and I was still able to get her head cleaned.

When I was a kid, my mother used a sort of plastic hair halo visor type hat that would deflect the water. It looks like they still make a version of it. I found one on ebay.

The washcloth idea is much cheaper though. You already have those!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

Stick him in the shower and tell him to close his eyes or don't fill the tub so full and let him lie down, while you gently rinse his hair.

It does hurt them to put their head back and a few seconds to them is forever.



answers from Springfield on

I asked my husband to install a showerhead that actually has two heads - a fixed head and a hand held head. This thing is a life saver. It is excellent for washing/rinsing my daughter's body and hair. It is excellent for helping you clean and rinse your shower and tub. It's great for washing the dog. And it's great for getting the shaving lotion off your own legs! I can't hardly live without it! Also, I think they have some kind of "hat or visor" that you can put on them so they don't have to tilt much at all. I think I'd mention to the pediatrition too, just in case! It's always hard to tell when our kids are pulling our chains or something is really bothering them that shouldn't be!



answers from Baton Rouge on

I had my daughter just sit upright in the tub, close her eyes and hold a washcloth over her face, poured water over her head with a plastic cup, lathered up her hair, then rinsed it with the cup.


answers from Grand Forks on

They used to hold a face cloth over their eyes and I dumped buckets of water over their heads.



answers from Detroit on

I let my 18month old lie down in the tub an d rinse it that way. I also make sure I don't use too much shampoo so it is easy to rinse.



answers from Cincinnati on

My son used to complain his neck hurt when washing his hair. I noticed he was slouched over. I make sure that he is sitting up straight before rinsing. We also put some sponge wall art (cars, constuction vehicles, dinosaurs, etc.) higher up on the shower wall and on the ceiling. (I am living in Japan. The bathrooms are different here. You have a shower and bathtub room inside the bathroom. You shower outside the bathtub. Water runs down a drain in the floor. Then you soak in the tub after you rinse off. So the entire shower/bathtub room is smooth, easily cleaned surface.) But perhaps you could still put them higher on the shower wall. Not sure about the ceiling in the States. My son is distracted looking at the artwork while I use the shower head to rinse the back of his hair. Then I have him lean to each side to rinse by the ears. Finally at the end, we do a complete water over the head, and he uses his hands to brush the water from his face. Before I do the over the head, I give him a 1-2-3 count and then the water comes.



answers from Los Angeles on

My son would hold the wash clothe over his face and I would pour water on his head. Or I would have him lay down in the bath and I would make sure his head only went under enough to rinse his hair. We also only washed his hair every other day. Hope this helps.



answers from Philadelphia on

I have a screamer on my hands when it comes to shampoo and leaning back her neck "kills" her (yes she is my drama queen!). One night she was in the room with me and saw her brother in my shower with the hand held shower and she asked if she could shower and wash her own hair.. guess what!? NO tears anymore! She puts the shampoo in and scrubs and washes it out on her own. Now I do check before she gets out to make sure soap is out but she does a great job on her own and its so funny how the shampoo doesnt hurt her eyes and no neck issues...she has been doing this since she was about 4... maybe let him dump the water over his head?



answers from Los Angeles on

I always used a foam hat that allows them to sit up straight and the water flows over the edges of the hat and away from the eyes. You can get them at Toys R Us in the baby section.



answers from Honolulu on

Hand-held shower head w/extra long hose--it's a miracle!!

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