Reduce hair combing drama with distraction

Create a portable hair styling tote

Few long-haired kids or their parents enjoy the daily hair-wrangling session. To calm the complaints (and even the tears), several PHers have come up with simple methods of distraction.

From Mrs. Mordecai:

I have a very squirmy twenty-month-old daughter. I grouped all of our commonly-used hair accessories (including small bottles of water, hair spray, and detangler) into a plastic tote and I keep it by the computer. When I do her hair, I put on YouTube movies of kittens and Sesame Street and it helps her keep still.

(Wondering which videos to pick? Read her full blog post on baby haircare for suggestions.)

From Suzanne:

When my daughter was a preschooler, we kept a brush and a little dish of ponytail bands and other hair accessories on a shelf near the kitchen table. Doing her hair while she ate breakfast was a real time-saver in the morning, and I think the food was just the right distraction from any tugging or pulling.

From Jenny:

Doing my princess's hair in front of their mirrors was adding to the DRAMA. It turned into an audition every morning. Now, once the kids are dressed, breakfasted, bookbagged, etc. they are allowed one TV show. Keeps them moving and I sit behind them on the couch and fix their hair without a single complaint! Watching Mickey instead of their own melodrama has saved our mornings.

Makes sense. And isn't that hair care tote a great idea? I've seen small plastic totes in the dollar section at Target.

Related: Make detangling more fun (less unfun?) by turning it into a game

Also: Plastic cleaning tote as portable art supply kit


  1. Kendra says

    Thanks to an earlier comment in a similar vein, I’ve started naming all the tangles in my 2-year-old daughter’s long hair. As we encounter each one, we tell a story about Mr Tangle and his friend the Naughty Knot and what they’re going to say when we tell them they can’t live in her hair anymore. As she tells me what they’re going to say and I answer with all the reasons they’re not allowed to stay there, she cares less and less about getting her hair combed (adding conditioner after our regular kid-shampoo routine has helped a lot too!) makes her largely forget about her dislike of having her hair combed. Now she regularly requests braids, headbands, and “pinky tails,” even though she knows she’ll have to sit still to have them done!

  2. Mia says

    We’ve started using a tackle box to store my daughter’s hair accessories. The botton is big enough for brushes, detangler, etc.

    It can be closed to prevent the baby from tasting the barrettes, and when it turns over the mess stays inside. And sorting into trays seems to keep my dd distracted while I detangle.

    They even have pink/ purple tackle boxes now.

  3. says

    TACKLE BOX! For tackling the tangles! Ha ha!

    Seriously, that is such a good idea. Gonna “promote” this to the home page…everyone must hear about it. Thank you, Mia!

  4. says

    I find that that the only thing that distracts my tender-headed 3 year old long enough for ponytails is giving her my iPhone to play a game on! I have a few games that are ‘hair time only’ and because they’re special they’re incentive enough for her to sit still for a few minutes. That, plus conditioner, plus ‘princess spray’ (Johnson’s detangler) AND naming the tangles…

    Now that I’m reading all of this I think I’m insane and am ready to cut her hair!

  5. KitterLee says

    What’s working these days is WATER. My two year old stands on a stool in front of the sink and plays with tub toys, cups, etc. while I do her hair. I imagine this won’t work forever, but I’ll take it while I can!

  6. says

    This may sound obvious but it is possible to damage your hair by incorrect or too forceful brushing. Don’t brush wet hair but if have to then use a comb instead.