Professor's House

Preparing a Child for His First Hair Cut

Luckily, my son’s initial professional haircut was a good experience. For some parents, the first haircut outside the home is quite the opposite and results in tears and tantrums. For those about to take their child on his first outing to the salon or barbershop, here are some tips that may help you. If you will be attempting the first haircut at home, you can adapt these tips to that situation.

If you are booking an appointment, avoid fussy behavior by making sure you set the haircut for a time when the child will have eaten and napped.

If this is your child’s first haircut and the child is old enough to understand, try to explain what will happen. If you are a regular customer at a salon or barbershop your stylist might let you and your child come in and see a haircut in progress. If you don’t have time to watch a cut ahead of time, try to describe the process in terms your child can comprehend. If the word ‘cut’ scares your child, try to find a substitute, like ‘trim.’

Some shops take walk-ins. Call ahead to see how long the wait is. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to walk right in and get your child in the chair. If you have an appointment, try to call and see if the stylist is on schedule.

Once you get to the salon, make sure you have some toys or books to keep your child busy while you wait. And remember that hair gets on everything at a salon, so stuffed animals and blankets are probably best left at home.

If you forget your activity bag, use the magazines and hairstyle books at the salon to occupy your child. Or you can always fall back on the game ‘I spy’ to keep your little one busy.

Realize that you cannot force a child to sit still for a haircut. The child could be scared or nervous, or just cranky. Regardless of the reason, be prepared to come home without a cut. If the child is very upset, forcing the haircut will just result in a bad experience that he will not likely want to repeat in future. Not to mention that it is next to impossible for a hairdresser to cut the hair of a squirmy child. The salon will likely not charge in this situation, but you may want to tip the stylist for the effort made.

Make sure you have reasonable expectations for the cut. Your child can sense disappointment and if he was nervous and caused a few bumps while the stylist was cutting, your being upset will add to his frustration and stress. Keep in mind too that a child’s hair is very soft and may appear choppier than yours would after a cut. As the child gets older, the cuts will have a smoother look.

Excess hair left on the neck can feel ‘picky’. To keep your child comfortable after the cut, you may want to have a change of clothes on hand or have a lint roller with you to remove hair from clothes. You can also bring your own brush to brush his neck. And here’s a tip baby powder can dry wet hair and make it easier to brush off.

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