Tangles, tears & tantrums
Getting my daughter’s hair under control has been painful at times – for me!
There are days when I would rather poke my eyes out with knitting needles, than brush my 4-year-old daughter's hair.

I'm sure the whole of northern Jo'burg can hear Ava's shrieks (and that's even before I've taken the brush, comb and detangler out of the drawer).

In amongst the shrieking and wailing in the O'Connor house, you'll often hear me threatening to shave my daughter's head.

Out of desperation I recently took Ava for a girls visit to the hair salon. One look at the comb sent her into hysterics. I swear she almost decorated the floor with her school lunch!

I was convinced a short bob would sort out our hair dramas and life would be easier for all.


My vain, girly girl was devastated when she saw her reflection, swearing never to return to school until her hair was long again (she's 4 for goodness sake!)

My girly hair strategy

I've decided that this drama cannot play out every day and now have a careful plan of attack.
  • Ava's hair is only washed every second or third day. I don't see why we have to torture ourselves every day of the week.
  • When bathing, we make a game out of blowing bubbles as I rinse the shampoo out of her hair. ‘Teacher Louise (the swimming coach) will be very proud of you,’ I gush.
  • The conditioner is left in Ava's hair for several minutes, while she plays with her bath toys.
  • I put her on my dressing table, in front of the mirror with several bits and pieces to distract her e.g. A book, lipgloss, my cellphone and lots of different clips.
  • A generous amount of detangler is sprayed in her hair.
  • The hairdryer is whipped out.
  • Using a soft brush or flat, round men’s brush, I gently brush her hair.
  • During this I often stop to look at her book, cellphone game etc, to distract her for a few seconds.
  • At the end it's up to Ava to choose which clips she would like in her hair.
A stylist suggests

Helen Lamb from Chop it Children's Salon at the Lifestyle Nursery in Northriding, Johannesburg has these tips:
  • Use a good detangler. Leave-in conditioners take away the tears
  • Keep long hair tied back or plaited at night.
  • When combing wet hair, use a big-toothed comb and section off the hair when combing.
  • Don't use tiny, elastic bands. They pull badly and split the hair.
  • Put your child in front of the TV, so that she's distracted, while her hair's being done.
I still threaten to cut Ava's hair short like her brothers hair, but there are far fewer tangles and tears in my home now.

Have you fought and won the hair battle?

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