Whew. It’s quite the heavy responsibility, raising children to become self-sufficient adults. It truly is the kind of task that has a billion different components to it too. Take hair care, for example. When is it the right time to transition from you shampooing your daughter’s hair in the bathtub and then washing her hair in the sink to letting her do it all on her own?

From what I’ve read and researched, an eight-year-old can do it if she’s highly supervised. Then, between the ages of 10-12, your daughter should be able to do it all by herself. But whether your little girl is 5 or 11, there are things that you can do to get them used to making wash days a part of their self-care (and hygiene”> routine. Here are the ones that I think are most important.

How to Ease Your Daughter into Her Own Wash Days

Pictured: @lucien_kids

1. Make a big deal about it

I know. A lot of us grew up treating wash days more like a necessary “evil” than anything else. Personally, I think it should be approached like somewhat of a milestone because, unless your daughter plans on going to the salon for the rest of her entire life, wash days are something that she’s going to be doing for decades to come. So yeah, make a big deal out of them. Schedule them out beforehand. Discuss them with her. Make sure your energy comes off as excited to introduce her to different facets of hair washing rituals. The more we enjoy taking care of our hair, the healthier our hair will be in the long run.

2. Explain to her why wash day is so important

Here’s what’s a trip. I’m willing to bet that if a lot of us were asked why we should consistently shampoo and condition our hair, it would take us a moment to come up with a viable response. The reality is that shampooing our hair cleanses it and our scalp. It also massages our scalp which helps to stimulate our hair follicles. Conditioning our hair adds moisture so that our hair is manageable and less prone to breakage. The clearer your daughter is on the purpose of both of these things, the easier it will be for her to understand why they’re both essential self-maintenance activities.

3. Get her a “wash day” bucket

All of us like having things that are our very own. When it comes to your daughter shampooing and conditioning her hair, she is no exception. So, make sure to get her a bucket filled with her own wash day supplies. Some sulfate-free shampoo. A conditioner (that smells really good”> as well as some leave-in conditioner. A detangling comb. A microfiber towel (explain to her that those are gentler on her hair than the towels that she dries her body off with”>. A few hair masks that she can learn to pamper her hair with. A carrier oil that she can learn to pre-poo with (because the more she learns how to make her hair manageable, the more comfortable and confident she will be about styling it”>. Some alcohol-free edge control (because baby hairs make perfect sense on young women”> — things that will help her to feel like she’s growing up, so that she get (and stay”> excited about washing her own hair.

4. Do more supervising than anything

Okay parents, you know how some of y’all can be. Instead of supervising your child, you kind of take over because you know that you will do a better job. While that very well may be the case, there is no way that your daughter is going to learn how to properly wash her hair unless she does it for herself. Besides, if a lot of us were truly honest with ourselves, we could stand to watch a couple of hair washing tutorials ourselves because all we’ve been doing for the longest is plopping product on our hair, rubbing it in for a couple of minutes, rinsing it out and going about our day. If even you want to make sure that you’re going about your own wash day the right way, check out our article, “The Best Way to Wash Curly Hair”. If you happen to be more of a visual learner (or you’d like a few visual examples to show your daughter”>, check out this video, this video and this video.

5. Let her pick some form of entertainment

If there are days when you don’t feel like washing your hair, you already know that there are going to be times when she won’t be thrilled about doing it either. “Chores” tend to go by a lot faster when there’s some entertainment that can serve as a form of distraction. So, let her pick her own music and/or a movie or favorite television show after she’s shampooed and it’s time to do some detangling and styling. When you give kids something to look forward to, that’s almost always a surefire way to inspire them to follow through on their obligations.

6. Teach her some styling hacks

I don’t know about you but sometimes what makes me want to avoid wash day is going through the styling process. Whether you’re totally against heat or you plan on blow drying and perhaps even flat ironing her hair, I get that you might want to solely take care of that part of the wash day process. But based on your daughter’s age, when it comes to styling, be open to showing her some ways that she can style her own hair, all by herself. Teach her how to braid. Give her introductory courses on how to do a wash ‘n go. Instruct her on how to pull her hair back into a bun or do some two-strand twists. When she’s able to complete the wash day process, it will give her a sense of pride — and that’s something that she can carry along with her for the rest of her life.

How have you encouraged your child to get involved on wash day?

Shellie Reneé

Shellie Reneé has been writing full-time for two decades with bylines in everything from Honey, King and Sister 2 Sister (remember those?) to XONecole, Upscale, Little Things, Your Tango and Love, Live Health — just to name a few. Although most of her writing is relationships-related, she also enjoys writing on self-help, health and wellness and providing tips for women to celebrate the way they were born — both inside and out.

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