Bringing your toddler to a barber shop or salon to get a haircut is not an easy task. So if you’ve tried it and your toddler cried at some point – or your toddler ended up with hair askew, it’s not your fault! This is quite common!
From getting your toddler to sit still on the chair long enough to even get a few snips in, to dealing with a toddler who’s upset when the scissors brush across their scalp – there are many challenges to consider.
So if haircuts are a struggle for you as well, here are some tips.
1. Prepare your child.
“First, we will wash your hair. Then, we will comb it. After that, the barber will give you a haircut.” This will help them understand what’s going to happen. Practice and roleplay at home. Pretend to cut each other’s hair.
2. Choose a child-friendly barber or stylist.
The barber shop we went to today is actually for both kids and adults. Unlike barber shops dedicated to kids, they didn’t have an assortment of toys, but the barber was just awesome chatting with Jake!
3. Give fun choices.
When my son was two, he wanted to choose his own haircut. I found a few choices of dinosaur haircuts online and let him pick one.
4. Talk your child through what is happening.
“The barber is going to use the clippers now. They make a buzzing sound, but they won’t hurt you.” This will help ease their fears.
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5. Schedule it for a time that your child is well-rested, and not tired or uncomfortable.
Opting for a haircut when your child is feeling fresh and comfortable can greatly improve the experience. A well-rested toddler is more likely to stay calm and cooperative during the trim, making the process smoother and less stressful for everyone involved.
6. Make it a positive experience.
Jake had so much fun today that he asked if we could come back tomorrow! Praise your child for sitting through the haircut. Tell them how proud you are.
7. If your child cries, try to stay calm and talk them through it.
Distracting with toys can help too. “I know you don’t like feeling the scissors on your neck. And it will be over soon!” However, if they’re really upset (trust your instinct here!), don’t force your child.
There are many reasons why a child would refuse a haircut, and NONE of them have to do with a power struggle. Haircuts are an overwhelming sensory experience. The bits of hair irritate the skin. The sound and the feel of the razor. The smell of the salon or the barber shop. It’s a lot for a child to take in!
8. Have a special treat afterward.
Today, we celebrated afterward – then we did video chats with relatives where he happily showed off his new haircut.
9. Remember, it’s okay if your child’s hair isn’t perfect after a haircut.
Your child is just as cute and adorable! In fact, sometimes the best haircuts are the ones that show character!
Regardless of how the haircut experience goes, remember that these are learning experiences. Don’t expect perfection – whether from your child or from your own reactions as a parent. Bad hair will grow and can be fixed. So have fun as you go for the haircut – and let this be an exciting adventure.