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Question: Can brushing my daughter’s hair be easier on us both? 


From Kris – My daughter hates having her hair washed and brushed and we always seem to end up fighting about it. 


Dear Kris, you are not alone on this one by a long shot. There are a whole heap of things that could be considered around the routine of the activity, the products used, what is said, and the list goes on. For me I am going to give you two things to think about: 

  1. Is there any difference if your daughter can do the sensory components herself? Could she control how much shampoo is used, how it’s rubbed in, how it is washed out, etc? Could she hold the brush and comb through her own hair? Often when we do things ourselves our sensory experience is more predictable and tolerable. Yes, it may come at the expense of it being ‘perfect’ in the early days, but this will improve. Most of all it should help the fighting to reduce. 
  1. If there are parts she cannot control the sensory experience in, try to make sure there is a cue that tells her how long left of the demanding situation there is left. For example, a 10 second count down as you brush her hair, a favourite theme song or singing the alphabet together. One thing is common among these examples, they have a clear finishing point. Knowing when something is going to end can also help us tolerate it. But please do not try to keep going if the agreed upon cue is finished. This will only create mistrust and further difficulties in engaging in the task. 
tips brushing childs hair