There are some tasks as a parent that fill us with dread every day, just thinking of having to repeat them. For some it's getting your child to eat their vegetables. Or maybe they don't like to finish their homework. For a lot of us it's getting them to get dressed in the morning or putting them to go to bed...the list really could go on and on! Let's face it, every parent goes into battle on a daily basis with our little ones just to leave the house in the morning.
One of the more highly contested daily tasks is when you need your child to sit still for hair styling. For a little one, every minute they have to sit still seems like an hour and you may find they want to avoid it at all costs. You could literally be a hair-braiding ninja but if you don't prepare for the task at hand, you'll be no match for an impatient 5-year-old! Here are my six easy steps for getting that hairstyle done without all the fuss.
Get Them A Comfortable Chair
It's important that you use a chair that is not only comfortable for them to sit on but also the right height for you. In the past I've bought a really cheap, low-backed computer chair with an adjustable height for when you're braiding. Ensure you are also in a comfortable position and that all of your styling tools and brushes are within reach for the duration of the task.
This could mean a variety of different things depending on your child. For example; put their favourite TV show on. Maybe give them a little snack in their hand or their favourite book. You've got to give them every chance at sitting still by surrounding them with stuff they enjoy.
Choose your style wisely
Photo Credit: Sweethearts Hair
This one is especially important if your little one isn't used to having their hair done. Choose a familiar style that you know you're going to be able to do which will take five minutes or less. Get them used to this positive association of 'two minutes', 'five minutes', 'don't you look pretty' and 'all done'. From there you can build on the time and difficulty. Further positive reinforcements can come from things such as giving them some creative input. I like to give them a choice of three hairstyles. Let them have some involvement instead of simply being told to sit still, with no say in what style they're having. Let them decide what they want in their hair.
Not Hurting Them
Photo Credit: Sweethearts Hair Detangler Spray
Painful memories are often more tangible than happy ones and if they associate this task with pain, they'll be reluctant to cooperate. A great detangler spray and a detangling brush will make for a tear-free session. When you're brushing the hair, always start at the bottom so scoop up the hair, hold it, brush gently those bottom ends, scoop up again and work your way up to the nape of the neck. Once you're at the nape of the neck just gently brush through the middle and the sides.
Tackle Knots Gently
If you do encounter a knot, never just brush directly down on it. Always pick up the knot with one hand and with the other hand, take your brush and lightly and delicately pick to the side. Gently work the knot out from the side first to loosen it and then tease the knot out bit by bit.
For a quick video explaining this, click Here
Let them choose accessories
It always helps to have a little array of accessories for them to choose from. This way if they do get a little bit antsy, you can assure them that you're nearly done and their pretty hair accessories are coming. And soon enough, what was once a dreaded, painful experience will transform into an enjoyable, easy activity. This will build your confidence to produce ever more wonderfully elaborate hairstyles.
Of course we know there is no exact science to getting children to sit still. You may have to tweak some of these steps to suit your child. However, a little determination will ensure your little ones will not only sit quietly but actually want to be involved in the creative process. I hope that this helps as part of your daily morning routine and encourages your child to love the hair they wear.