I don’t know a single toddler who loves to have her hair washed. Here are three methods that may or may not work for you, depending on the day.
If you are bathing with your toddler, let her wash your hair first. Then you do hers.
All By Myself (Almost)
Guide your child through the hair washing process, standing by with a wet wash cloth and a dry wash cloth. Use a very small amount of shampoo. I let Nora use a cup to wet her hair and rinse it out. Be vigilant about not letting a little soapy hand find it’s way to an eye! The results will not be perfect, but at least the rat’s nest of tangles will be gone.
Just Do What I Say and Nobody Gets Hurt
Not as brutal as it sounds, this involves mustering all of your (gentle) parental authority and explaining exactly what you are going to do just before you do it. Tell your toddler to look up at the ceiling then use a cup to wet the hair down. Then lather. For rinsing, firmly hold your toddler and lay her back in the water. You’ll need to sing a soothing song. The one I wrote goes like this (Oscar Hammerstein I am not):
Your mama holds you tight, and you lean back in the wah-ter
Everything’s all right, we rinse the soap out of your hay-yer.
As a last resort, there’s bribery. But I didn’t need to tell you that.