You get a call from school. It’s the school nurse on the line. She explains that your child has been found to have head lice during a routine nit check. She requests you to pick your child and make sure that they are louse-free before returning to school.
The dreaded lice call – a parent’s nightmare.
You rush to school, finding your child sitting in the corner, crying.
Mommy, they won’t allow me to play with my friends. They even asked me to go and sit in a corner, far from other students in class.
Your child complains innocently.
Caressing your child’s hair, you tell them:
Baby, head lice did not happen because you did something wrong. You didn’t.
It’s everything your child had been waiting to hear all day long.
Unfortunately, this message may not be the message that your child received at school and from his fellow peers. It was more of a judgment, a blame on them, making them react with fear.
And you should tell the same thing to yourself as well.
It’s true. Anyone can get head lice, and at any age. You don’t necessarily need to have dirty hair to get head lice – your child might get infested even if they have clean hair.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 6 million to 12 million infestations occur each year in the United States among children 3 to 11 years of age.
However, the social stigma associated with head lice and the way the person having head lice is looked down onto, might make your child feel paranoid, shattering their confidence.
This is exactly what you need to address when talking to your child about head lice. And the best way to start the conversation is by telling them that they are not at fault and that anyone can get head lice. Much like anyone can get a flu.
Next, draw a funny picture of head lice in front of your child, rather than referring to them as some blood-sucking evil creatures. Put a spin on why a head louse is called a louse in first place, highlighting their lousy behavior. Remember, maintain the fun element while explaining what head louse is to your child.
Don’t use the word “treatment”. Instead use something like conditioning and combing. Don’t use the term “doctors”; use lice angels or Lice Troopers Plantation. This way your child would feel more comfortable at the prospect of getting treated for head lice.