Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ponytails or Pigtails?

Let me first say how excited I am to join the panel of the Village! It is great to have this resource to turn to for information, help, and support in the ever-changing world of parenting.

My question today relates mostly to parents of girls, but I'm open to suggestions from anyone!

My daughter has long, curly blond hair that can be absolutely adorable--or a complete mess. I've never been one to spend a lot of time on my own hair, and I haven't spent a lot of time on my daughter's hairstyles, either. But the longer it gets and the older she gets, the more out of control it seems to become. I have a few setbacks with trying to fix her hair: 1) I only know the basic two ponytails style. 2) She never wants to hold still while I'm trying to do her hair. And 3) As soon as I'm done, she just wants to play with her hair and often pulls out anything that I've managed to get in!


*How do you style your girl's hair? Are there any hairdos you've found easier/harder to put in and/or maintain?

*How do you get your toddler to hold still long enough to have her hair done?

*How do you keep your toddler from playing with her hair and pulling out any styles?

*Are there any products or supplies you've found particularly helpful in doing hair? (i.e., certain elastics or barrettes, hair spray, etc.)

*Any other general advice on toddler hairstyling?

I'm hoping my daughter doesn't have to wander around with a rat's nest for hair just because her mom can't figure out what to do with it. Any help would be greatly appreciated!


Liz, Karl and Madison said...

We are finally getting to the point where I can do something to Madison's hair so that it doesn't just frizz out all over. My SIL's friend just started a bow making business and she had a party where she did all of the girl's hair at the party to help give us ideas of what you can do with different lengths. Even though I am NOT talented when it comes to hair, I can actually do what she showed me. She would love to do a party to show people if there were enough people interested I could set one up. Also the trick I use is I bought a spray bottle to get Maddie's hair wet with and while I do her hair I put her on my bed with a towel and she just sprays the bottle and is as happy as can be to let me do her hair. As far as keeping it in... that's a tough one. I finally just also got to the point where I got Maddie excited about how cute her hair looked and she chooses to keep it in. (I let her admire herself in the mirror after we are done)

Megan said...

Okay, I have a little boy and cannot do anything but ponytails when asked to do my nieces' hair. However, my sister is a pro and the girls hair is always adorable! With that said, I pulled a couple blogs off her blog that she gets ideas from: and I know when my sister's girls were little she let them watch a movie while she did their hair to get them to hold still. I wish I had more ideas for you, but I hope this helps!

Jared and Delia said...

Just some thoughts. I too just have boys so no first hand experience here. I have to say though that some girls will love to have their hair done and some hate it. I say honor their personalities. If they hate it, then do something quick, easy, and functional. If they need to keep their hair out of their face then just swipe it back in a pony tail, or keep their hair in a short bob.

On Sundays, for church, you could bribe with treats or something if you want to do something nicer. I know, I know. Bribery...that is really my parenting advice? I only use bribes for stuff that doesn't really matter like this. My son hates to have his hair done the way that I like. I figure it doesn't really matter so I have stopped caring and I just let him wear it however he wants. Once in a while though for a wedding or pictures I will bribe him and say it is just for this time. I don't use it too often so it seems to work okay.

Some other ideas. You could have her fix her baby's hair while you fix her hair. That might keep her a little more still.

Jes said...

My baby is a year and still doesnt really have any hair, but Im hoping that she will be one of those children that likes it (especially since I have my own hair salon in the home -and has 'the cool chairs' etc)and lets me do it! *crosses fingers*
However, I really think that Liz' ideas (at the top) about getting her excited and letting her admire it are GREAT ideas! What girl doesnt want to feel pretty?! (-even tomboys like I was when I was younger!)
More ideas I would suggest is: getting her her own hand mirror thats used for hair, go to the crafts section of your nearest store and get bead separating boxes (or a fishing tackle box or atc would work also) and then let her pick out some cute/cheap little hair accessories. (Ive found even just a fun hairclip makes all the difference!) Then keep all your collection of hair things in the little organizer and she can easily see (and pick) what she wants to wear each day.

Another thing my aunts did with her girls was make a book of the hairstyles she did (granted my aunt is amazing with hair and later used it to make copies and teach a young women's activity, but you could keep it basic as well) take pictures of each style, and make a little idea album so that she can remember and see what they are and be able to pick those out too. (Ive found with many things that 'tricking' people/kids into thinking they have a choice/control works wonders! ie, instead of saying "Will you be good and let me do you hair today?" try something like "How do you think you'd like to wear your hair today?" or "What clip should we use today?" etc... sounds lame, but its off the top of my head, Im sure you could think of better ones)
Also,'s a blog I think is a good resource. (the mom just enjoys doing hair and made a blog about what she did for her daughters' hair and writes tips and etc too)
...maybe looking at the pictures of girl on the sites will get her excited too?

also, a party was mentioned (for bos?) in a comment above...thats a great idea. If more people are interested, we could try to do one and each bring ideas. I also have a copy of the 'hair packet-book' my aunt made (that I mentioned above) Im sure she wouldnt mind me making copies of for you all (it has step by step instructions and etc)and I can bring ideas form little's girls hair when I was at the salon too... let me know :)
Hope at least some of that helped!

Kelly A. said...

I am by no means a pro but I love to play with what little hair my girly has! :) She likes to sit on the counter in the bathroom and watch me do it in the mirror. We also make a big deal about how cute it is (like Liz)and she loves the compliments :)

Jessie said...

With two little girls who were both born with quite a bit of hair, this has been a constant struggle for me. My hair is as straight and boring as they come, so I never fussed much with it, but both of my girls have curls, so that's been something I've had to learn to deal with, too.

The best distraction I've found with my girls is to let them play in the water in the sink while I do their hair. They like to play just with their hands or a comb, and sometimes I'll let them brush their teeth (making sure I go over it after, of course). (Letting them play with their toothbrush has also made them more willing to let me brush their teeth after, btw.) Both girls are usually more than happy to let me do their hair while I let them play in the water, because it's not something they really get to do any other time of day.

As for specific hairstyles, I do mostly do pony tails, braids, or buns, though I vary the number (one or two) and style/placement regularly. I also do clips to just pull the hair away from the eyes, and leave the rest of it down fairly often. I let my older daughter choose how I do her hair every day, which also helps with cooperation.

A couple tricks I've learned for keeping the hair in once I've done it--for basic ponytails and braids, use the small elastics that are rubbery (but still tangle-free). They stay in place better, and are harder for their little hands to pull out. You want to use the small elastics for little girls, so you don't have to wrap it a million times, which cuts down on frustration. Another trick I use is after I make a ponytail, I split the hair down the middle right in front of the holder, then push the whole ponytail back through (remember the TopsyTail from tv when we were kids? It'll look something like that-- I use this on whole hair ponytails (my daughter calls it her "princess hairstyle"), and when I do my daughter's hair in half-ponytails on top of her head. It seems to hold her hair in better, and it's not as easy for her to grab the ponytail holder to pull it out. This should be done with a softer ponytail holder, though, not the elastic kind. That will just pull her hair and make her mad.

I think the biggest thing I try to remember while doing my girls' hair is to let them have choices, and then not to make it a huge fight. If my daughter doesn't want me to do her hair, and we aren't going anywhere important, it'll stay down and somewhat wild. I try to keep it out of her eyes so she can play, but I'm not overly concerned about how polished she looks. Cute hair is fun, but a happy child is more so, I think.

Good luck! :)

Jes said...

I just thought of a couple of cool little tips...

use a seam ripper (used for sewing) to take out the tiny tight little hair elastics... totally quick and = no pain or fighting her to hold still

also, if you want do do something simple...(basic pigtails for example or a ponytail) but spice it up a little... try getting some small wooden dowels from your local craft store... the round, the square, triangles...all are fun... wrap a piece of the pigtail around it and use your hair straightener to 'warm it up' around the dowel...slide dowel out and spray... just takes a few seconds, and then you have fun little ringlets, or triangle curls, etc... VERY quick! (also, the squares and triangles have corners, and the 'kinks' in the shape dont fall out and go straight by the end of the day like normal curls do...always a plus *wink*)

On The Go Family said...

Our daughter's hair took FOREVER to grow in. We kept trying to grow it and grow it, rarely cutting it in fear of losing the length. This summer we resorted to giving her a short little bob and it's been great! I feel like her hair is getting thicker and it looks SO much cuter on her right now. She doesn't have bangs, so I part her hair on the left, then pull the side to the right and either put it in a clip, elastic or little braid. It's simple, but works well for her. Maybe in a couple years we'll try the long do's again.

Jes said...
She has some good 'holding still' ideas so she can do her daughters' hair.

Tannie Datwyler said...

I'll try to add a few things Laura and answer all your questions

How do I style her hair? We've done many a hairdo and I could easily show you all of them if you are curious. The most common though are two pony tails on the top with the back left down, or one pony tail. Now my daughter has HUGE cowlick in the front so her hair does not like to go into one pony tail (and her hair is very fine) and doesn't like to stay in. So I usually do 4 little ponytails across the front and then one BIG ponytail in the back. This hairdo stays in all day and I don't have to do it twice. I also like two pigtails braided - again, this stays in all day. I find that the hairdos that are the hardest to do usually stay in the best (except curling of course... that takes forever and doesn't stay in anyway). I have too many ideas here, but I could totally show you sometime if you'd like.

How do I get her to hold still? She likes TV so that works well - but I don't think your little girl does. When my daugther was younger I usually let her play on the counter (at least when she was little - now I let her stand on a stool). I let her play with water (like was mentioned) or play with all my old jewlery. When she is being onery I just tell her that we are done and that her hair can look silly all day. She usually freaks out at this and decides to hold still. That may or may nor work, but again, making the idea of "done" hair exciting helps (that's been mentioned).

How do I get her to not play with her hair - I don't. She just does it!! If you know my daughter at all then you have surely seen her play with her hair. If she pulls out one part I put it back in quickly (having elastics on hand helps). I also do the elastics fairly tight (and sometimes use two) so that it stays in. Yes, this means it is a pain to get them all out, but it is worth it to me to not have to do her hair often. I like what Jes said about using a seam ripper - sometimes I use a fingernail clipper and just make sure I have no hairs caught before I clip the elastic out.

Products that help - just find what is best for you. I use a lot of gel and hairspray to help keep hair styles in. I would suggest buying cheap hairspray and gel - that sounds weird but works well. I like cheaper stuff because it isn't as sticky and then I can use it to style up the hair, but by the end of the day it is mostly gone out of her hair so it isn't a sticky mess. Does that make sense?

Other advice - I let my little girl do my hair sometimes and that gets her excited to get her own done. Remeber too that all hair is different. Doing curly hair is compeletely different than straight. All the advice I can offer you is on straight because that is what I know. So just find what works with you and be realistic and realize that sometimes it is going to look messy.

That was too long - sorry, I hope it does help though.

Anonymous said...

Wow, it seems there is already a lot of advice. I may repeat, but here goes anyway. Make sure the ponytails or hair style isn't too tight. If I have even one or two hairs in my ponytail that are pulling too hard, I take it out and redo my own hair. I find the same in my girls. It always looks clean and nice if it is really tight on their head, but then make sure to slightly loosen it a little. Also, don't use rubber bands or the tiny clear ponytails that can pull their hair. Try it on your own hair to see how it feels going on and off. If it is comfortable for you, it will work for them as well.

Teaching Tiny Tots said...

When the girls were very young I would let them hold their baby brush as I did their hair to help keep them occupied.

I used a small spray bottle filled with water and spritzed their hair. It helps make it neater and holds the pony tails in longer.

Clips used to get removed so I found simple rubber bands worked well. The best were the small ones from the dollar store that came in multi color packs by the 100. They do stretch after a couple uses but there are so many in one pack that it lasts a long time.

If you have a special event and you want the style to last longer, you can use the small black elastics which hold the hair well and are hard to pull out because they are so tiny...but even though it says it is tangle free they do tend to pull a strand or two out when removing them.

Now the girls prefer to have their hair done every day!