Dealing with Head Lice – How to Guide

Are you dealing with head lice?

Oh girl, you found bugs crawling in your little ones hair and you don’t know where to start, right? No worries momma, its going to be ok! I know you want these disgusting little parasites not only off your child’s precious head but out of your house, like yesterday. Here is what I have learned when dealing with head lice and the steps you need to take to get rid of the bugs once and for all.

Lice occur most frequently in younger, school aged children, and they can happen to ANYONE. Lice occurs more often in girls but that could just be because girls generally have longer hair. They are gross I know, BUT these resourceful little bastards have been around since the beginning of time. Trust me when I say that no one is more skeeved out than your kid at the thought of bugs crawling around in their hair. They know that momma is going to handle this like the bad ass boss she is.

CHECK EVERYONE thoroughly so you know how many heads we are treating here.

When your little one comes to you and says that it feels like something is crawling in their hair then you need to check, like now! Lice drop lots of eggs and fast! Go directly to a well lit room and check the base of their skull and behind their ears. These are the most common locations for the lice to lay eggs. Adult lice are easily seen with the naked eye but the nits are tiny so if anyone has reading glasses available they may come in handy here. The nits are oval shaped little blobs attached to the hair shaft very closely to the scalp. Once those puppies start hatching you are going to have a serious problem. Adults are good at hiding while you are checking hair so take your time looking around. Once you know you are dealing with lice, then you need to check EVERYONE in the house.

Most research shows that over the counter medications rarely work in eliminating head lice. Even through two rounds of treatment and with you doing everything “as directed”. If you learn nothing else, then learn from my experience. Your best bet is to call your pediatrician right away and get a prescribed treatment that kills both the lice AND the eggs. I will explain why in a minute.

Your head is itching isn’t it? Don’t panic. Just the thought of lice makes your skin crawl but make sure someone has checked your head too.

The Good Stuff

Why do you need the good stuff? You need the medication that kills the eggs too, which is only available by prescription. These little buggers, pun intended, can take up to 12 days to hatch. Then it only takes 6-9 days for them to become mature enough to start laying eggs themself. You can see how this starts to stack up against you quickly. You are going to be chasing your tail trying to find every nit in your kid’s hair for the next month or so before you can declare victory. Go to your doctor and get the good stuff. I told our pediatrician that I wanted “something that will kill everything but those two”, pointing to my beautiful head scratching daughters.

Plan of Attack

Now that you have this lice annihilator in your hot little hands you need to plot out your plan of attack. First thing to do is gather everything that your children have come into contact with for the past 48hours. Place it all into one area to be considered “the contamination zone”. Every bed in the house, clothing, coats, pillows, stuffed animals, etc.. Think of anything that may have come into contact with your child in the past 48 hours and set it aside to be laundered.

Hairbrushes and hair accessories need to be soaked in water greater than 130 degrees for at least 10 minutes. To be honest, during the first rounds using over the counter shampoos we did this. Once it was obvious that we had lice again, we just tossed them all and bought new stuff. If you can’t buy new, then boil a pot of water and throw all the grooming accessories in the pot of boiling hot water (turning off the heat first of course).

Make a Clean Zone

Now, the medicine has to sit on your child’s head for about 10 minutes, you now have time to make a “clean zone”. I then went through their stripped rooms and vacuumed their beds and floor thoroughly. I picked out PJs and set them in the bathroom for the girls. Once their heads were done stewing, they rinsed off, got into their PJs and went straight to their rooms, you know, the “clean zone”. They were told that they couldn’t go to other areas of the house without my permission (possibly this was overkill but after dealing with these parasitic bastards for a month, I.WAS.DONE.).

I then, systematically, went through each room that would need to be tidied up, vacuumed and cleaned in the order of importance to our daily lives.

The Aftermath

As far as the laundry, it will take DAYS to wash everything. Everything should be washed on the hottest setting and dried on the hottest settings. Don’t forget to vacuum the couches, chairs, and rugs!

Lice don’t really live long without a host. If something has been in the coat closest for a week without anyone using it then you are probably ok to leave that be. Anything that can’t be washed, like my daughter’s softball helmet, needs to be sealed up in a plastic bag for three weeks to ensure that they are gone.

Remember Momma, lice have literally survived for thousands of years. Clearly they are unstoppable, until they met you that is!

 

 

Head lice?! Ewwww….gross….you must be dirty! OMG Mary has bugs in her hair! Kids can be cruel when it comes to head lice. Check out this blog post on helping your child cope with having had lice. http://asleepbynine.com/parenting/aftermath-of-head-lice-talking-to-your-child/

 

3 Simple steps to tackling your kid’s clutter!

Tackling the clutter!

Kid’s are messy, I think we can all agree on that. My kid’s seem to find ‘beauty’ in every piece of scrap paper, fruit snack wrapper, and empty box. I see other mom’s posting pictures of their house and it looks like a magazine is coming over any minute for a photo shoot! My house isn’t like that….ever. Our house isn’t big, our girls share a bedroom so that room is especially troublesome but I have had enough! I’ve decided that it was time to regain control and my sanity by organizing my kid’s rooms to optimize their space and control the clutter.

First step is the PURGE!!! This step is cathartic all by itself. You will probably need to do this when the kids aren’t home for the most successful purging. Broken toys, games missing pieces rendering it unplayable, clothes that no longer fit, etc, all need to go. I know its not the ideal way to spend a Saturday that the kids are at their grandmother’s but trust me it will be way more productive if they aren’t crying and trying to save every thing you try to toss. The feeling of shoving all those ‘art’ supplies in a plastic trash bag is therapeutic to say the least, and I think you are still going to enjoy your Saturday. YOU will feel better after this step alone! Also, a little word of warning, there is a good chance that you will find things that are…ummmm how do I put this….things that are gross. Like not, ewww this is kind of gross, but more like “choke, sputter, GAG, WTF!?” gross depending on how long their room has left in its natural state. Hang in there!

Side note: Toys, books, and clothes that still have some life in them can be donated to your local mission, church, or day care center for an added bonus of good karma!

Next you will want to consider how you are going to organize the remaining items. Whether you use baskets, bins, shelves, doesn’t matter as long as it is something that both you and your kids will find aesthetically appealing and functional. You will want something that your children can understand the concept of. Bins with labels can be helpful for children who are learning to read, shelving for books, tubs that fit under the bed, and a dirty clothes basket are all helpful items to keeping the room neat and tidy.

Lastly, and most importantly, MAINTAIN this sacred space!! You worked very hard to get this room into a state of tidiness so its important to not let it backslide. Regular purging whether daily, weekly, or monthly depending on your schedule is imperative to keeping up and not letting it go back to its former state. Incentivize kids to participate in the cleanup, something small because let’s be honest, they shouldn’t get rewarded for something they should be doing anyway.

I found that once I tackled this monster and got their rooms back in order that they spent more time playing in there. It seems like maybe the clutter bothered them too without them even realizing it (or maybe it was just so bad they didn’t have room to play in there), whatever the case may be their tidy (I still use that term semi loosely) room is much more enjoyable for all of us.

My kid’s room is a disaster!