HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
June 11, 2007, Herald Journal

Those hard-to-wash kid heads


From a very young age, my boys hated having their hair washed. This chore was extremely unpleasant for me as they would thrash, cry, and fight every minute of it.

After many years of this power struggle, I read a tip in a magazine that promised to curb this behavior, and I must say it works. My boys were about 3- and 4-years-old when I came across the tip.

The secret to hair-care utopia, at least for my boys, is to pretend that you are finding different animals, objects, or even people in their hair as you wash it.

As soon as you wet their hair down you might say, “Oh - what’s this? A crocodile drinking a can of pop! What’s he doing in your hair?” The child laughs and usually says, “I don’t know!”

Then you can say it went down the drain, and immediately come up with something else you’ve found.

Sometimes, depending upon the age of the child, the more ridiculous, the better, like an airplane, grandpa’s couch, or the Grinch who stole Christmas.

My boys are six and seven, and still enjoy this hair-washing ritual. Usually one of the boys will stand by the sink while I’m washing the other just to listen to what’s being found and to add to the list of crazy hair inhabitants.

This technique worked from the very first time I tried it. I was shocked to suddenly hear an excited response when I would tell them it was time to wash their hair. They would say, “Yeah, let’s go see what’s in my hair!”

Such a simple little tactic that brought sanity to a once-dreaded chore.

Patience at the doctor

It can be hard to keep kids from bouncing off the walls while secluded in a small room waiting for the doctor.

Something I’ve found enjoyable, as well as the kids, is to engage them in some silly medical talk while waiting. Many times, the waiting rooms will have toy doctor kits that work well as props for this pretend medical consultation.

The boys will use these different toy medical devices on me as I ask, “Dr. Gallus, what is the status of my condition?”

They will come up with something strange, maybe even a number like 10 and I’ll react accordingly.

If I’m a 10, I tell them I have one foot in the grave, so they’ll laugh and say I’m 100, to which I react excitedly and say I’m ready to run a marathon.

Any kind of silly dialog is enjoyed by the kids and your story-telling skills will get dusted off, as well.

With a little imagination, the long wait in the small room for the doctor can be turned into something enjoyable.


My 6-year-old handed me a fist full of beautiful dandelions. As I was holding them he said, “Now you have a dandy fortune!”