Let’s be honest – traditional kids haircuts are not normally enjoyable experiences. More specifically, boys tend to be much more sensitive to the experience than girls. This is because physically and mentally, girls generally develop faster than boys. What’s more, science proves that young females are more welcome and receptive to touch than young males. This might explain why women make up 70% of US spa customers!
Starting at around 1 year old (and lasting until 5 or 6), some children find haircuts intolerable. They can be frightening and traumatic for your child, and sometimes frustrating for you. The sight alone of large shiny scissors or the threatening sound of an electric hair buzzer is sometimes enough to send your poor child into a frenzy! This simple fear can turn into a phobia for your child. Just 4 Kids Salon recommends the following helpful hints to ensure your next visit is a fun and enjoyable one for all:
- Play the role of “Child Psychologist.” Your child’s apprehension may not even be about the haircut itself, but rather the horrible panicky feeling of fear itself! In short, don’t teach a child to NOT be afraid by frightening him even more. If you force your toddler to simply endure their fear, you risk causing the fear to grow. The only haircut that will convince them that “there’s nothing to be afraid of” is the haircut that doesn’t scare them. First, don’t even call it a haircut. Kids associate the word “cut” to mean hurt. Instead, call it a “hair trim“, or a “hair appointment.“
- Hype up the Experience. No child wants to get their hair “cut.” Instead, starting a couple days before the actual appointment, start hyping up the fact that your child actually gets to do something fun! Example – Excitedly say “Guess what Tommy?! On Wednesday you get to see Miss Samantha at the fun salon! She going to do your hair for you!” Talk about the fun involved in the actual experience by telling them that they’ll get to wear a cool cape and take a ride in her awesome car chair, equipped with a built-in motor and horn!
- Timing is Everything. The best time to take a child for a haircut is right after a nap. This is the time when they are the most rested and relaxed. Bring a sippy cup of milk or formula, and ask the stylist to try to finish before the cup is gone.
- Get Them Comfortable. Don’t rush into a child’s first haircut if they aren’t ready for it. Slowly guide them through the process. If necessary, simply ask to take a tour of the kids salon and ask permission to sit the child in the fun car chair and watch a minute or two of television without actually cutting any hair or donning a cape. This will help to prepare them for the real thing.
- Cause a Diversion. On the day of the appointment, expect the best but be prepared for the worst. In case your child has a mini-meltdown, combat it by bringing along their favorite snacks and / or toys to the salon with you. Also, ask the stylist to put his favorite TV show on (Thomas, Elmo, Mickey Mouse, etc.). Specialized kids salons also have lots of other accessories on hand to ease the experience. Often these will do the trick.
- Wardrobe Changes – Sometimes, we find that children resent the plastic “cape” that is put on them. If that is the case, bring a change of clothes with you so that they can simply experience the haircut cape-free and have clean and non-itchy clothes to wear on the trip home or to their next activity.
- Sweeten the Deal – Oftentimes, something as simple as a lollipop is enough to get your child to smile and to sit still. If you’re health conscious – ask the salon if they can provide an organic lollipop. You’ll be surprised how often this trick works!
- Like Father Like Son. Most boys want to be just like their dad. Your child is probably no different. Get your hair cut first right in front of them to show them it’s no big deal. Then they will probably behave afterward. Most kids salons have stylists that can easily cut men’s hair. Ask if they can accommodate a Father / Son appointment and book it.
- A Mother’s Love. If your child doesn’t take to the car chair particularly well, simply sit them on your lap
- Stay Consistent. If your child has a great experience with a certain stylist, it’s important to stick with them. If your child forms a relationship with a stylist it will be easier to keep them calm and relaxed. If it doesn’t work out as planned, simply ask for a different stylist the next time around. Most kids salons are equipped with several stylists so this shouldn’t be a problem.
- “Have Their Back.” Once you convince a child that you’re on their side, it’s amazing how well they will start to behave. When they do, don’t force the issue. Accept a couple of snips for an appointment as “progress” and simply reschedule for another date to finish the job.
- Reward Bravery. Like any textbook psychology lesson, good behavior should be rewarded. Enabling a child to feel proud and special when they accomplish any milestone in life is a wonderful thing about being a parent. Embrace this opportunity to take them to see a fun movie or buy them their favorite toy. Let them know that their bravery and “hard work” will result in accomplishments, thus reaping rewards. This life lesson will last far beyond simply getting their hair cut, and may be a key toward them becoming successful later in life.