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Tips for Lice Treatments with Small Children


Updated on June 25, 2020

By Lice Technician Jessica Zachar

There is an art and science to lice removal. Here are some tips to make lice treatment go as smoothly as possible. 

Before the Treatment

If you are treating your family yourself, or if you are doing a follow up check on your kids, you will want to gather all your necessary supplies before you begin. Tell kids to “get all their wiggles out” by running around or jumping up and down. It can help them sit still for longer!maryville-farragut-lice-treatment-cartoon-playing-runningYou will need oil, a towel (or have everyone wear unimportant t-shirts), a high quality nit comb, paper towels, and a trash can. You may also find it helpful to use a spray bottle (to distribute the oil), a magnifying glass, and hair clips. For children it helps to have snacks, drinks, and entertainment on hand. Set up in a comfortable area with good lighting. You don’t have to go outside or in the garage, as lice are passed from head to head instead of infesting a home like fleas or bed bugs. You might want to set up in family area or in front of TV to help keep kids calm and happy. Eliminate outside distractions as much as you can – make sure everyone has gone to the bathroom and that no one needs changing or feeding. It can be helpful to let kids know ahead of time that this will take a while, and give them 5-15 minutes of warning time so they can finish whatever they are doing while you get ready.

The same advice applies if you have hired LiceDoctors to come to your home to professionally treat your family except we bring the supplies and the expertise.

During the Treatment:


Allow children to use distractions while they are being treated, such as watching TV or movies, playing games on a tablet or phone, reading, or homework if they are old enough to work on it unassisted. Let them know that your priority is combing their hair right now – some get carried away and will keep interrupting and asking for your help in keeping them entertained.

Set them up with something they can do independently that will keep them occupied for awhile. You can have kids sit at a table or counter, or you can give them a tray or clipboard to keep materials close at hand so they stay in their seat. Take breaks as needed to stretch, go to the bathroom, or grab supplies. It may be difficult, depending on how good your children are at sitting still and if they are easily overstimulated. Encouragement helps more than threatening punishments. Tell your children why you need to get this accomplished – they will usually agree that they want bugs removed from their hair!

Again, if we send a professional lice technician to your home, these tips apply. LiceDoctors technicians are experts at engaging children while delicious the hair. Humor, patience, and kindness go a long way toward successful lice removal and happy clients.

After the Treatment

You can use a plastic shower cap to cover heads (if child is supervised) and make sure that long hair is pulled up in a bun so that children are not leaving oil stains when they lean against things. maryville-farragut-lice-treatment-teens-heads-wrappedMake sure you do NOT put little ones to bed with the plastic shower caps on as the shower caps can move across their face and potentially suffocate them during sleep – place a towel over their pillows instead.

If you don’t have any plastic shower caps (or if your child doesn’t want to wear one because it is too strange for them) you can also use an old hat. To clean up any olive oil stains use a grease-fighting dish soap like Dawn. You can also add a drop of dish soap to shampoo if you feel like their hair is still very greasy when you wash it out. Educate your kids on how lice is spread (mostly from head-to-head contact like hugging, and by sharing brushes and combs). For those with long hair, encourage hairstyles that keep their hair contained (such as a bun or braid).

Don’t forget to explain to your children that everybody gets lice, and that they are not gross or dirty for having lice (the bugs prefer clean hair!). Sometimes kids tease each other over lice, but a little education goes a long way in preventing that. And last of all, my official unofficial recommendation for post lice treatments is: ice cream! Also helpful can be another treat, toy, or experience as a reward for the family. It can be quite a lot of work for little ones to stay patient and cooperative during a lice treatment, and you deserve a treat as well for powering through!

If you determine that you want or need professional help, give LiceDoctors a call at 865-643-8382 morning, afternoon, or night any day, any time.

A professional lice technician will make a house call to you anywhere in the Maryville and Farragut area and will make sure that everything goes smoothly during and after lice treatment. She will provide you with a simple after care plan so that you can rest easy knowing that the lice are gone and will not return.