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Hair’s The Problem

I really thought we would be done with strange sleep issues by now. The boys are 4 and 2.5 years old and while we still deal with them coming to our bed each and every night, I didn’t think we’d still have a sleep problem like this.

So what’s the problem? Well, our 2.5 year old has become obsessed with running his fingers through my hair when he wants to go to sleep. He wants to have my head (my hair, especially) within arm’s reach at all times should he want to sweep his hand through the strands of hair. It’s not just at bedtime anymore, though. He now wants to have access to my hair any time he just wants to feel comforted. He’ll walk up to me and say “I wanna touch you hair, Mommy!” and he won’t be happy until I lean over and let him touch my hair. Then he smiles and walks away.

Yes, it is sweet that he is still comforted by his mama in this way and I suppose I should be glad he isn’t still nursing at this age (yes, I know some kids nurse well past 2.5). But it’s getting a little ridiculous. Last night I sat on the floor next to his toddler bed while he was drifting off to sleep (after about 45 minutes of “In your bed, Spencer!” “I don’t WANNA go in my bed!”), my neck bent at an unnatural angle to get my tresses closer to his chubby little grip. For ten minutes I sat there, him falling into a light sleep, his hand dropping onto his chest or bed, me trying to find a comfortable position, his hand waving to find my hair again to restart the cycle. *sigh*

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Do the sleep issues ever end? If it’s not getting them to go to sleep, it’s getting them to continue sleeping, in their beds. Only a few hours after getting him to sleep with the help of my hair, my husband and I were asleep in our room and I woke up to find Spencer wedged in next to me, hand in my hair and sound asleep. I’m unsure when he joined us, but rather than tempt fate with a possible screaming fit at 2am, I let him stay there.

As I crouched next to his bed last night, I wondered what I could do to stop this little habit of his. Should I purchase a Barbie or some other doll with human-like hair (ew.) to be my hair surrogate when it’s time to sleep? Would the ribbon on Miles’s nearly-forgotten BayBay do or would that cause even more problems (Miles suddenly wanting BayBay again)?

Do any of you have a hair-obsessed 2 year old? Help me out, what are some ideas to help him kick the habit?

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About Krista

Krista is a full-time working mom of two boys, currently aged 6 and 7. She lives in Kentucky with her husband, Brandon.


  1. No suggestions but it’s so sweet. I’m sorry though, I can imagine how difficult it’d get. I’d explain to him how it can sometimes be uncomfortable for you.

  2. I know, I know. It is really sweet, and though it is irritating, I do love that he still needs me for something other than potty stuff, you know? I’m sure one day I’ll cry, thinking about the hair thing, but right now I just need it under control!

  3. rachel holt says:

    I don’t think getting a baby with hair is a bad idea. It may save your back some trouble. Ethan when he was little needed his puppy with a silk ribbon and blanket with a silk tag. When the tag wore off I would be a crazy person looking for a tag that felt the same. I would cut it off clothing, toys (didnt matter where it came from) and would sew it to his blanket to get to sleep. I have a friend who is Always playing with her hair or eyebrows. She carries around a blush brush in her pocket to run her fingers through. She said its the feel of the hair under her nails that she likes. May be worth trying as well.

  4. Rachel – It was actually you telling me about your friend and the blush brush that made me think of using a Barbie doll or something.

    I might have Mom raid my huge box of Barbie dolls in their attic. We know he enjoys playing with them, anyway! 😉

  5. What about setting a time limit? It is so sweet, but I can see how it can be taxing. We have to do transitions with our oldest, or all hell breaks loose. I always have to tell him “you have 5 minutes” or 10 minutes, or one more time and then we are done. Maybe you can let him for a few minutes, tell him he has 5 (or 3, or 2) minutes then its time to go to sleep. I might be a fight at first, but it should get easier. Bedtimes were such a fight, but now that we transition to each bedtime activity and he knows it times to wind down , he doesn’t even fight. And we tell him he can’t get up until the sun is up (obsessed with outer space) and now he stays in bed until its light, even if he is awake.

  6. That is a good idea and I kind of do that. When he comes up during the day and wants to touch my hair, I say “You can touch it one time.” and that’s it. And last night I eventually said “Okay, that’s it, you’re done.” and his hand settled on the little bed rail.

  7. Marlene Kehrer says:

    Uh, hello, dear, but do you not remember having a similar obsession with MY hair at that age? I know you were still doing it at age 2 because people at Nashville used to talk about it when you were with me in church. It does sound like he is a little more extreme about his need for your hair, but I will have to say that 28 years from now you will still be able to remember that sweet little habit that tells you that he still needs you.

  8. Mom – Yep, genetic disposition for irritating hair issues!