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Jweber12 , 13 Dec 2022

3 year old hair pulling

Hello, I am new here but I am here for my daughter. She started pulling her hair out a little over a year ago(she’s now 3years old) and it was solely associated with her pacifier. Once we took the pacifier away, the hair pulling stopped. She then became a hair twirler (I am too) and we found no problem with that. However, in the past couple months she started pulling her hair out again. She twirls until she makes a knot and then pulls it out. There has been no major life changes with this new hair pulling. During the day we are able to stop her from pulling, but bedtime remains a problem. Any tips, trick, advice etc is greatly appreciated! Thanks so much! 

4 Answers
January 22, 2024


Thank you for sharing your experience, and I truly empathize with what you're going through. It's challenging to witness your child engaging in behaviors that seem to provide comfort but may also raise concerns.

I understand the struggles firsthand, as my son started twirling and pulling his hair from around one year old. He's now six, and while he still twirls, the severity has lessened. The journey involved understanding why he does it and finding ways to empower him to manage his emotions.

As a parent, it can indeed be tough, but I've learned that involving your child in the solution can be impactful. My son, now more aware, actively participates in strategies to soothe himself when needed. It takes time and patience, but there's hope for positive progress.

It has been a while since you posted your initial comment, and I am genuinely curious to hear how you and your daughter have come along?

If you haven't considered already, trying to engage her in alternative comforting rituals and introducing bedtime routines that focus on relaxation might be beneficial. If the behaviour persists or causes significant distress, consulting with a paediatrician or child psychologist can provide more tailored insights and strategies.

As a parent, this can be a stressful and sometimes overwhelming journey. Don't forget to take care of yourself too.

Remember, you're not alone in this journey, and there's support available.

February 06, 2024

Good day, 

can you give any examples of how you helped your 1 year old manage his emotions. We have a two year old and we aren’t sure our child is aware of what they are doing yet.  Any insight would be helpful 

thank you 

February 22, 2024

Hello "Shannonmcginty",

Supporting a 1 or 2-year-old in managing their emotions can be quite challenging.

To begin, I took a reflective approach by examining my own behaviours and stressors that might be influencing the environment. Establishing a consistent nighttime routine helped create a sense of calm and predictability for both my child and our household, which in turn reduced overall stress and anxiety.

Equally important was verbal communication. I engaged in open dialogue with my child, offering reassurance and creating a safe space for him to express his feelings. Together, we practiced deep breathing exercises as a positive soothing technique to replace pulling/twirling, to help cope during moments of overwhelm or anxiety.

It was important for me to model self-regulation. Once I myself was able to effectively self-regulate, I was able to help co-regulate in his moments of stress.

Additionally, providing guidance in understanding emotions. Tailoring my communication to his level of comprehension helped him grasp the connection between his triggers and behaviours. As my child began to understand how his emotions influenced his actions, he became more equipped to manage them effectively.

As a preventative measure, I used a silk cap to create a physical barrier, and during colder months, I ensured he wore mittens to deter any hair-pulling urges. Introducing a hairy teddy served as a redirection tool whenever he reached for his hair.

It was also helpful and important to have someone to guide and support you through this journey. Having someone support you, hold you accountable, and teach you techniques and ways of communicating was invaluable.

I wish you and your family all the best. It is a journey. It may take time. Your little one is still very little, but you will be surprised as to how adaptive they can be. There is hope, be patient, try to remain calm, and get as much support as you can- it truly helps.  


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