Those of you who already have kids at school will know that it’s not just the homework that will be coming home with your kids once they are back to school. If you’re really lucky you’ll get to experience the whole range of emotions that goes with finding your child has nits. I still remember when my innocence as a new school mum was shattered when I discovered keira had nits one morning while doing her hair. I’d never seen them before and I had no idea what to do. In fact the school office had to tell me what to do. Of course I went and got some terrible smelling shampoo that was so strong and I had to read the instructions and leave it in her hair for a few hours. I’d never even see a nit comb before and now we have several throughout the house. We’ve gone through stages of no nits (as in before my eldest started school), then nits, then trying to beat the nits which kept coming home, then a new school with no nits and then nits again late last year.
My best advice? Just stay vigilant against them. Even if you think you’ve got them all and said goodby to nits, be prepared for them to come home again or for another cycle of nits in your family. It happens.
And how do I check for nits? Well we check (ideally a couple of times a week but usually once a week) with the nit comb when the kids are getting their hair washed. After conditioner has gone in and been left in for a while is a great time to quickly run a nit comb through and wipe on a wet wipe or white tissue to see if it comes out clear.
And what are you looking for? Generally anything light brown to black that could be as tiny as a little speck or fleck or a full blown big nit will come out. It’s really important to wipe the comb on a white tissue/wipe/bit of toilet paper/whatever you have that is white so you can see what is coming out. Otherwise you are just putting the comb and nits back into the hair. So wipe after the comb has been in each time and you’ll use a few wet wipes/tissues but trust me there is a great sense of satisfaction when that last nit comes out of the hair. And after each child has been de-nitted you’ll want to wash their bedding and hats.
And what is my favourite way to get rid of them? We have tried loads of different treatments over the years, trust me I keep finding them everytime we move house and I clear out bathrooms. But they really haven’t worked for us in the long term. At the moment I’m loving oil like argan oil in the hair as they slide out easily and a metal nit comb. Don’t use your good stuff from the hairdresser. I’m using this less expensive one ($8 a bottle). You might like to apply the oil to wet hair or I did dry and also did a haircut at the same time since we were sitting on a stool and dealing with holiday hair. Then wash their hair and you run the nit comb through it and then I dry it with my hot straightener. And yes you better set aside part of your day or night to deal with the nasty nits (I think that’s why mums hate them so much). But trust me if you deal with them now and get rid of them properly then you will be so much better off in the long run.
Now some of your kids will scream the house down when you get the nit comb through their hair. We have a really loud one here who almost runs a mile once she sees the nit comb. A good distraction is to have them sit and watch something on the computer or their favourite movie while we get the nits out. For my really unhappy little ones who hate the nit comb I do them while they are in the bath and work quickly and then act like I have no nit comb, as soon as they turn their head back to play I’m back in there with my comb and getting anything out. Works a treat for my little two.
And preventing nits? For my boys short hair. Keep it short and it’s so easy to get the nit comb through. My boys are never really my problem in the nit department. For my girls it’s hairspray all the way. Go crazy with it. And hair up, plaits are best. If the hair is too long to get the nit comb then they get a generous trim at my ‘salon’. And when I’m on top of the daily hairspraying we seem to avoid nits. Once a lovely friend Sonia made a beautiful all natural spray when keira was in kindy and we were really battling the nits and it worked wonders and smelled so beautiful at the same time. Must get the ingredients from her if she’s sharing her special spray.
And that’s nits! What’s your top tip? Everyone seems to have advice and yes the cheap conditioner gets a workout here too. The funniest tip I ever got was from the GP who told me to sit with the child near a naked flame like a candle and comb each one out and then strike it through the flame to really kill it. Oh for sure. Totally doable back then with 4 kids under 6. Yep. No. I never did that. It had accident waiting to happen written all over it.