I had dreams of styling my daughters’ hair since I was a little girl myself…brushing and styling my doll’s hair into amazing updos. When my own daughter’s hair was finally long enough to twist into a teeny, tiny ponytail, I was so excited! I also quickly realized that little kids are not very enthusiastic about sitting still. Styling little girls’ hair is not as easy as it looks!
I’ve learned a LOT over the past 11 years of styling my daughters’ hair. I want to share with you some helpful hacks that anyone can use to make hairstyling more enjoyable (and less of a chore) for everyone.
Have all of your hair styling necessities in one place
We use a simple plastic caddy to store detangling spray, a brush, a comb with a pointy tip, gel, hairspray, rubber bands and hair elastics.
Just like everything with kids, if you go in unprepared they will eat you alive. This simple step of organizing your supplies into one spot will make hairstyling way less of a headache.
Have an enjoyable distraction
When my babies were just sitting up, I discovered that the best distraction to get their hair done was themselves. I would put a towel in the sink and sit them right inside, then they would stare into the mirror while I worked. Just make sure you don’t leave them for even a second or they could tumble off the counter backward. This trick of looking at themselves in the mirror helps with some older kids as well.
As soon as my babies figured out how to turn on the faucet (boo!) we would move to another location for hairstyling. Sometimes I fixed hair with the baby or toddler strapped into their high chair. Other times we just found a comfortable spot.
When you are away from the mirror, an alternate distraction is an entertaining show. When my girls were younger I would play YouTube videos of books being read so it felt more like story time than screen time.
Place the screen so your child’s head is in a neutral forward-facing position. And for best results, have your child sitting at a height that makes it comfortable for YOU to reach their head (and see all of it). This might mean sitting at a counter height chair with you standing behind it. I’ve also had my girls sit on a short chair or stool while I sit on the couch behind them.
Have a Plan…
Your time is limited so have a plan before you start. Think about how much time you have available and choose a hair-do that you can complete with your time restrictions. Some days you will have barely enough time to do a ponytail, other days, time will allow for a more complicated hairstyle.
…but let your daughter have input
Once my kids hit about 3 ½ or 4 years old, I like to let them assert their independence by giving them two or three hairstyle options. We like to come up with fun names for the different hairstyles…we do “twirly whirlies” and “horsey hair” among others.
You could also create a fast and easy “look book” for hair. Every time you do a different hair-do, take a quick picture and store it in an album on your phone. If you are trying to decide on a hairstyle, let your daughter scroll through the pictures and pick her favorite.
Praise, praise PRAISE
Not only do I praise the sitting still, “Wow, you’re doing such a great job holding still for mommy, thank you!” I also heap on the compliments and benefits of getting your hair fixed. “Now your hair won’t be in your eyes while we play at the playground!” “These twirly whirlies are so much fun, you look adorable!” I’ve never had a problem with my little girls pulling out their styled hair. I can’t say it is 100 percent due to this strategy but it certainly doesn’t hurt.
Make it a positive experience
This is probably one of the most important hacks to make styling your little girl’s hair easy for both of you. When you make hair styling a positive experience for your child, then it becomes less of a chore. Make hairstyling a positive experience by making sure your daughter is comfortable, giving her an interesting distraction, giving tons of positive feedback and not getting upset when a hairstyle doesn’t look exactly like a YouTube tutorial.
Some days those pigtails are going to go in perfectly but other days you’ll be lucky to put in one crooked ponytail. It is frustrating to have a hairstyle in mind and an uncooperative child. However, you will make it MUCH harder for yourself if you get angry at the situation or even upset with your child.
So keep it light, keep them entertained, and do the best you can! You’ve got this mama. And remember… a crooked ponytail never hurt anyone.