Kicking the Bad Habits: Hair Pulling

If your child is about to start preschool or daycare, it’s time to start breaking some of their bad habits. In this series, we will cover some tactics that will help you kick those bad habits to the curb. Today’s bad habit is hair pulling.

Yanking hair is usually a quick way for children to exert control over their environment, when they’re still too young to communicate why they are upset. Once children discover the reaction they get from hair pulling, they make it into a habit to get what they want. If your child has ever yanked on your locks then you know how painful this habit can be! Here are some ways to break the bad habit of hair pulling:

Stay calm

Remember that by pulling hair, your child is actively trying to get a reaction from you. If you don’t let your emotions overcome you when your child pulls your hair, or when you catch him pulling someone else’s hair, then you will find yourself in the right mindset to come up with a constructive way to handle this habit.

Work out the reason

Toddlers pull hair because their vocabulary is still so limited, so they are often unable to find the right words to explain what is making them upset. You should try to work out the possible reason behind their hair pulling behavior. For instance, you could tell them that you understand why they are angry and then correct their behavior accordingly.

Talk to your child

It’s important to demonstrate that talking – not hair pulling – is the proper way to solve problems. Make sure you tell her that hair pulling is wrong because it hurts people.  As your child gets older and her vocabulary starts to grow, teach her to solve problems through alternative means. For instance, you could say ‘Instead of pulling his hair, what could you do the next time your brother grabs your toy?’ Then help her express herself in words.

Never pull back

Don’t try to teach your child “how it feels” by pulling their hair back. This only reinforces the hair pulling behavior by teaching them that hair pulling is the way to get things done. Always use the behavior that you want your children to imitate.

At Cranium Academy, our goal is to build character and leadership in every student. To provide consistency between school and home life, we work hand-in-hand with parents to help children break their bad habits. If you’re working on kicking the hair pulling habit, let your child’s teacher know so that we can help you with the process. One less bad habit is one step closer to building good character and being a leader!

More in this series: Thumb Sucking, Nose Picking, Nail Biting/Picking