Lice arouse emotions and talking to children about difficult topics can be a challenge for any mother. How to stay calm and talk about lice in an accessible and understandable way?
First of all, it is important to understand that lice cause completely different emotions in adults and children,
In adults, lice often cause repulsion and shame, and sometimes a feeling of guilt in parents, as they believe that the lice infestation is the result of their negligence or lack of care and hygiene. The truth is completely different - you don't get lice because of poor hygiene or parental negligence!
For children, lice are often more of a biological curiosity. Children are fascinated by their ability to adapt and enjoy watching them and asking incredibly creative questions.
However, when parents talk to children about lice, they may feel guilty that they got lice, that they disappointed their parents and did something wrong. The difficulties in combating lice, the successive treatments and messages from school only worsen this frustration.
How to deal not only with lice, but also with children's emotions?
How to talk about lice with children?
First of all, remember that getting lice is no one's fault, neither the child nor the parents.
Lice are common parasites among children, the fact that a child “brings lice home” just means that they caught them from one of their friends.
Lice are transmitted more frequently between children as they have closer contact than adults. Any contact with children touching their heads - even briefly - can result in the transfer of lice from one head to another. This has nothing to do with children's hygiene or cleaning their hair.
Therefore, let us look at lice infestation as a natural consequence of our children's social development. If our children get lice, it means they have friends. It is important to note that children who do not attend schools or kindergartens can also get lice.
If our children get lice, our basic task as parents is to explain to them that nothing terrible has happened, that it is normal and that it can happen to anyone, and to ensure that we get rid of the parasites effectively and efficiently. And not only that, we will speak to the kindergarten or school so that they can also take action, because combating lice is a team effort - if they are not eliminated from the child's environment, sooner or later they may return.
We do not recommend hiding the fact that your child has lice, children talk to each other about lice! This is an interesting topic, the possibility that our child – even if he is very young – does not understand what the truth is is very small. In our opinion, an open and honest conversation is the best way to talk about lice!
Explain what lice are!
Explain to your child that lice are insects and parasites – organisms that feed on others. In this case, the lice hosts are us, that is, humans. Lice feed on human blood – just like mosquitoes, for example.
It is also important that they understand that getting lice has nothing to do with hygiene, it can happen to any child, so they should not be discriminated against or ridiculed because of it.
Talk about lice control
After explaining to your child what lice are, explain what needs to be done to get rid of them. You will have to remove the lice and nits (lice eggs) with a fine metal comb - we recommend the comb we use in our clinic.
Remember that whenever a member of the household gets lice, it is necessary to check all heads in the family!
If you don't want to remove lice, we recommend using Happy Heads Clinic's professional lice treatment services.
Establish preventive measures
Explain to your child that if they have lice, their friends will probably also have lice, so it is important to prevent them from getting them again after treatment, and it is necessary to tie their hair well - the tighter the hairstyle that holds the hair closer to the head, the smaller it will be possible for lice to get closer.
Use preventive products to repel lice from approaching, in addition to checking your hair frequently. The sooner we identify a lice infestation, the easier it will be to eliminate them.
How to find lice in a child?
Contrary to popular belief, you don't always itch when you get lice, especially at first. Lice are a more common problem than it seems and, if left untreated, they spread quickly.
To diagnose lice infestation, it is necessary to find live lice or nits (i.e. eggs) on the head. The first ones are quite difficult to see because they move very quickly through the hair and escape the light. Nits, however, are very small, so they are not always easy to spot.
That's why in this blog post we explain exactly how to identify lice infection: https://en.happyheadsclinic.com/post/how-do-i-know-i-have-lice
Lice infestation at school - what to do?
Lice are a common problem in schools and kindergartens. Parents are often afraid to report that their children have had lice, for fear of being stigmatized. This is the road to nowhere.
If our child gets lice, it means it happened in the environment he frequents – among friends. Furthermore, if he has had lice for a while it is likely that he has transmitted lice to other children. If we don't talk openly about this issue and don't take joint action across the class or group, lice will circulate for months or even years.
Speaking of actions - we absolutely do not recommend treating all children, but only children who have lice.
Remember that lice are common in childhood! You can get lice easily, but they are not dangerous – they do not transmit diseases and generally do not cause significant complications. By following our tips, you can get rid of lice effectively!