Dealing With Toddler Thin Hair? (Mom’s Advice)

Did you know that hair is the second fastest growing human tissue (the first is bone marrow, by the way)? Yet, moms and dads of tiny toddlers with thin hair may doubt this. And though it may not seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things, it can cause concern for new parents. So what should parents dealing with toddler thin hair do?

Most parents dealing with toddler thin hair should not be alarmed. As long as toddlers are overall healthy, hair will reach it’s expected growth. Hair is genetic, so parents can expect their toddler’s hair to be similar to their own, keeping in mind the effects of living conditions and diet.

As a mom to four, I’ve had plenty of experience with toddler hair, including worrying about toddlers with thin hair.

I’ll share what I’ve learned over the years about this topic that mainly causes alarm for new parents, including how it may be different for boys than girls, and some suggestions to promote healthy hair and keeping it pretty all day long.

Toddler Thin Hair-An Overview

Although hair grows on average 1/2 inch a month up to 6 inches a year (Check out this book of facts at Amazon for more info and trivia), it’s not that way for toddlers. In fact, some toddlers won’t grow hair til age 2! So what should parents be aware of when it comes to toddler hair?

Toddlers experience big changes, but toddler hair is a slow area of growth, with some toddlers looking bald for many years. Most toddlers have thin hair because the biggest growth spurt for hair starts around age 15 and then tapers off at 30. Keep in mind genes play a big part in toddler hair, too.

Even babies born with tons of hair will likely experience thin toddler hair. This is because new babies shed or lose most of their newborn hair within the first couple months as their bodies go through hormonal shifts.

“Big hormonal shifts happen in a baby’s body after they are born, which can cause all of their hairs to enter the resting phase at the same time.”

Sage Timberline, UC Davis Children’s Hospital pediatrician 

Infants start to grow their hair within six months to a year in general, but even then, it’s a small amount compared to older children’s hair. So babies born bald or those who lose their hair will all likely have some hair by their first birthday.

There are two things parents should take in when thinking about their toddler’s hair. Both genetics and environment play a part in their child’s hair health.

1) Genetics: New research has identified and isolated the hair growth gene and is promising in it’s pursuits to manipulate it in a way to promote increased hair growth. However, this is for those suffering from severe hair loss such as male patterned baldness or those with alopecia. Of course, there’s also the possibility and probability of it supporting products to help those with limited hair or ‘thin hair’ in general, in our shampoos and other hair products mass produced….in the future.

Hair is genetic. It’s texture, and it’s thickness (or thinness).

This means those with thicker hair generally produce offspring with thicker hair. And certain ethnicities are known for thicker hair than others. Yet, this is but a blue print. This means, we are born with a make-up for things, but our environment can determine just how far we take it, or how much we limit it.

2) Environment: The CDC tells us that good nutrition during a child’s first two years is of the utmost importance for healthy growth. This includes toddler hair, nails, and teeth development, too.

In fact, the entire environmental picture impacts a child’s growth, from sleep patterns, to safety, to sanitation, to diet, so even though genes may set the stage for hair potential, there’s a lot parents can do to maximize hair growth.

Related articles of mine that I think you’ll also enjoy:

How can I thicken my toddler’s hair?

One of the most common ‘mom’ questions is how to get their toddlers to eat nutritiously.

Moms often wonder what can they do to help their toddlers’ hair grow, especially if it looks like their toddler’s hair is thin, or thinner than other toddlers’. So what can you do to thicken toddler hair?

The best way to thicken toddler hair is to provide a healthy lifestyle. This means toddlers should eat a nutritious diet to get a variety of vitamins and protein, and also get plenty of rest and have good hygiene, keeping hair and scalp healthy.

Although much of hair growth is genetics, a healthy life promotes growth all over including hair.

Let’s look in the next section at some specific ages and stages of toddlers (with thin hair) and what moms and dads can do.

Two-Year-Old Toddler Thin Hair

Moms and dads often enjoy dressing up their two-year-olds because now they’re at an age that enjoys ‘dress up’ play’ and having their hair fixed, especially toddler girls. So what can moms and dads do for their two-year-old toddler to grow healthy, thicker hair?

Parents of two-year-old toddlers with thin hair should provide them with a healthy diet and good hair and scalp care. Toddlers need to eat a variety of foods, ensuring enough vitamins and protein, essential for hair growth. Plus, clean scalp and hair support proper hair growth, as well.

Two-year-olds are notorious for being finicky eaters and not good for finishing their meals. Parents can combat this with plenty of healthy finger foods, and opportunities for nutritious snacking. Remember, toddlers like to graze, but particularly two-year-old toddlers!

Some Tips for Feeding Two-Year-Olds:

  • Have fun plates and appropriate utensils
  • Make meals colorful
  • Use cookie cutters to create characters and shapes with food for high interest
  • Keep a regular schedule for eating times
  • Make sure kids have access to variety but don’t enforce it
  • Make it fun (‘choo choo’ game and so on)
  • Don’t let them eat sugary treats too often or they’ll not want other foods

Three-Year-Old Toddler Thin Hair

Even though three-year-olds have longer attention spans than they did at age 2, they still aren’t great at mealtimes. This can be particularly challenging for parents of three-year-old toddlers with thin hair, trying to ensure they get enough vitamins and protein.

Three-year-old toddler thin hair is more of a concern, since other toddlers may have started growing more hair, making it look thicker. Parents should continue to provide nutritious meals and healthy snack opportunities, but also may want to supplement with vitamins after consulting with a doctor.

Three-year-olds generally have started growing more hair, and have had time for it to get longer. This can be a sharp contrast for those who haven’t by this age, making parents more concerned. At this point, it’s something to probably discuss with your doctor.

He or she will may even suggest blood tests, if necessary, depending on the individual case, too. For instance, if parents or older siblings have thicker hair and the toddler still hasn’t grown much or is atypical for the family. Also, if there are other concerns, such as delays, the doctor may think thin hair is a symptom of something more serious.

If your doctor does recommend vitamins to improve your toddler’s hair health, don’t fret! It’s not usually a challenge to get three-year-olds to take vitamins as there are many ‘candy-like’ vitamins on the market for toddlers.

The main issue with vitamins is to treat them like other medications and keep them out of toddler/child-reach when not under adult supervision!

Some Tips for Feeding Three-Year-Olds:

  • Let them select their plates, utensils, etc to provide ownership in eating
  • Three-Year-Olds love to help in the kitchen so give them opportunity to ‘prepare’ meals
  • Now that you know their favorite foods, incorporate them as applicable and for incentives
  • Add more cookie cutters to create characters and shapes with food for high interest
  • Again, keep to a routine for meals, play, and sleep time
  • Don’t require kids to ‘clean their plate’ but do make sure he or she tries a variety of foods
  • Add more snack times if necessary (kids this age don’t have big stomachs, but they do need plenty of opportunity to get a nutritious diet)
  • Also, limit sugary drinks and snacks so they don’t fill up on those instead of veggies and protein
  • Adding dips can make even the pickiest eaters enjoy veggies and proteins they otherwise wouldn’t eat

What About Toddler Boy Hair Vs. Toddler Girl Hair?

Believe it or not, there is a difference in toddler boy hair and toddler girl hair. As a mom of both, I’ve found this out, but keep in mind, there are also many similarities between them, too.

Age and sex play a role in hair. First, males grow hair faster than females, so toddler boys often have thicker hair than toddler girls simply because it’s come in earlier and quicker. But strands of hair cannot be distinguished individually either, making toddler boy and girl hair similar too.

It’s also more noticeable if toddler girls have thinner hair because girls generally grow hair longer and use hair accessories. Toddler boys, then, with thin hair might be hardly noticeable due to their hair styles versus that of toddler girls who have just as thin hair.

In my own situation, our one daughter and two of our sons had thin toddler hair, too. Though Lexi was born with a lot of dark hair while both Brandon and Ethan didn’t have much more than fuzz, all three had thin hair for their first 3 -4 years of life. And as they grew, so did their hair volume!

I remember when Lexi was about six months old and it looked to me like all the other babies had hair (of course, they didn’t!). I wanted so desperately to put bows and ribbons in her hair that I resorted to using Vaseline to keep a bow on! It inevitably fell off, but I was able to get some pictures in first!

Our oldest son Brandon had very thin hair, too. He was just over a year old when I gave him his first haircut. It wasn’t because it was too long or thick either, but because he had many scraggly lines and patches where it had grown in unevenly. It took much much longer than necessary, but after I was finished, his short ‘boy cut’ did make his hair look thicker.

Now Lexi and Brandon have very thick hair. In fact, they probably have the thickest hair of anyone I know, other than their brother, Ronin!

And our youngest son, Ethan, also had very thin hair as a baby and toddler. In his case, however, it has continued. His thin hair is a symptom of other more serious health problems we’ve since learned over the years. He is the one child out of our four who continues to have thin hair…due to his overall nutrition deficit (part of his autism).

Suggested Hairstyles for Toddler Thin Hair

As a mom of four kids, three of whom started out with toddler thin hair, I’ve definitely learned some tricks for hairstyling!

The best way to style toddler thin hair is to keep it clean and combed. Bows and accessories fluff out toddler girl hair and styles with pony and pig tails are good. Braids can emphasize bald or thin patches, though. Bangs work well for toddler boys and girls since they make hair look thicker, too.

For Toddler Girls: Hair bows are a great way to handle toddler thin hair, from simple ties like these from Amazon that stay in without pulling out fragile hair to colorful bows like these with clips that stay in place all day.

For Toddler Boys: Keep hair cut neatly and trimmed regularly. This can create a thicker look. Bangs also support a thicker hair illusion.

Special Note: Don’t over use certain hairstyles or hair accessories, particularly in regards to your toddler girl. Pulling hair a certain way over and over could actually create bald patches or irregular hair growth. And if you use accessories, don’t make pigtails/ponytails/braids and so on too tight either. For toddler boys, you might also make cow-licks if you always pull, brush, or comb hair a certain direction.

Toddler Thin Hair Takeaway

The takeaway on toddler thin hair is that it’s completely normal. Most toddlers have thin hair, as hair growth is maximized much later (from age 15-30). So in general, parents should not be alarmed if their toddler has ‘see-through’ or thin hair.

As long as parents ensure toddlers eat a well-balanced diet and have a healthy lifestyle (good hygiene, enough sleep, etc.), then there’s usually no cause for concern.

It should go without saying, but of course I will, that it’s always recommended to dialogue with your child’s pediatrician about thin hair concerns and anything else health related regarding your beloved. Although unusual, there are some cases where toddler thin hair could indicate serious health problems.

For further reading about toddlers, I recommend these related articles of mine:

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