Toddlers lead busy little lives, far too busy to sit for a lengthy hairstyling session–especially if the process involves painful hair pulling. Still, some children have hair that grows at a remarkable rate and often in multiple directions. If you come prepared with the right tools, at the right time, you can quickly coax your toddler’s hair into a neat ponytail without either one of you crying. (Well, not much anyway.) In the beginning, your child may resist your hair care efforts but if you make hair time a part of the daily schedule, this should help her adjust her thinking on hair time being an optional activity.
Step-by-Step Toddler Ponytail
Examine your toddler’s hair while she naps. Look for the natural part in her hair. Where is her hair thickest or thinnest? Having this information will help you plan where to put the ponytail, like on top of her head or at the side or back. It is good to have a plan before you attempt styling!
Gather the supplies you need. You should purchase a baby hairbrush or a brush made for children. Do not use your hairbrush on a toddler’s hair. Mom’s hairbrush is far too rough for a child’s tender scalp.
Put all the items you need, like the brush and ponytail bands in a small basket. Place the basket in the area where you intend to work on the toddler’s hair. If she’s a runner, plan to do her hair in a contained area like the bathroom. (Keep the door closed so she can’t make a run for it!)
With the basket beside you, put a new toy or some interesting (but safe) item in front of you and place her in your lap. To keep her interested in the item, only allow her to play with it when you work on her hair. She may fuss a little when you put it away but keeping the toy somewhat “new” will pay off in the long run.
Quickly brush the child’s hair into ponytail. The best method is to brush with one hand, gather the hair with the other. She may have patches of hair that are significantly shorter than the rest. Don’t worry about these areas; gather up the long hair. Wrap the band around her hair once, brush the hair on the scalp smooth then wrap the bands two or three more times. Don’t pull too tightly.
Finish the session with compliments about how she looks and how well she did. Remember to avoid hair items that could be choking hazards.