Maintaining the hair of a tender-headed child can be quite the challenge. You love your kids and express that love through proper guidance. Parents are the first teachers, and as you teach them self-grooming, many of those tasks fall on your shoulders when they are young with one being hair maintenance.  

I vividly remember sitting between my mother’s legs as she combed, brushed, and braided my hair. I would slightly wince as I sat in my little rocking chair watching TV (this was back in the 1970s). It was my younger sister who squirmed and cried as my mother did the same thing to her hair. Tender-headed was all my mother would say. Tender-headed means having a scalp that is sensitive to touch, and especially any form of tension. This term is popular with little curly and coily girls, as we were the ones getting our hair braided, combed, and brushed most of the time.

There are some tender-headed women but most have worked through it with simpler hairstyles that require low manipulation, but with children there is no easy solution. Sad to say, many mothers are callous to the whines of their tender-headed children and this can cause a negative and excruciating experience. No one wants painful memories so here are some tips to make the experience less damaging to the hair as well as less damaging to her spirit.


This was my trick with my daughter when she was younger and I needed to wash her hair. Each time I laid her on the kitchen counter to wash her hair in the sink she hated it and cried. My solution? I began singing "Jingle Bells" and made her sing with me. It was a huge success! Before the wash session was over she had a tear-stained face while singing at the top of her lungs and smiling at me. It was amazingly special as we repeated the song until her hair was done.

Distracting your child is such a big part of being a parent, whether they are at the doctor getting vaccinations or hiding their toys before Christmas morning. It’s our job to distract them as they cannot always understand or deal with some of the realities of the world. Having them blow bubbles or sing along to their favorite DVD are just a few ways to get them to forget, even for a moment, that what they are doing is not really fun. If you’re lucky they may start to associate hairstyling with something fun!

Use great detangling products

Whether washing, conditioning, or styling use products that are water-based and help your fingers or wide tooth comb glide through the hair. It’s worth the extra money (if they cost more) to  prevent your child from wincing and crying through detangling sessions. If shampoos are leaving her hair in dry tangles, then try a gentler brand or a cleansing conditioner.

Try styles that tend to last longer

Braids are a great style for tender-headed children. Sounds like just the opposite? Well, not really if you do not braid too tightly and understand that moisturizing and wrapping the braids in a satin scarf at night is the only maintenance needed. She may be willing to sit a little longer and not whine if she knows this happens about once a week or once every two weeks. She'll enjoy the breaks in between.

Be gentle and use proper tools

Take your time when combing, brushing, or braiding your child’s hair. Sometimes we are rushing to get out the house or get them off to bed, but in our haste we tend to be rougher and can create a harder experience for our children. Take your time and use the proper tools (wide tooth comb, tangle teezer, etc.) so you have minimal tears streaming down their faces and hairs in the comb. We want their hair to stay a positive component within their childhood so take extra steps to ensure it stays that way by being gentle to their beautiful tresses and they will follow suit into adulthood.