boy getting haircut

5 Tips to Help Kids Afraid of Getting Haircuts

Some babies are born with a few wisps or even a full head of hair. Arranging these silky locks into cute hairstyles can provide lots of fun. Adding a tiny bow or barrette can be the perfect accessory to an adorably outfitted newborn. Spiking the first few strands so they are standing at attention will surely draw smiles. Parents have fun slicking back longer pieces for a sophisticated look or pulling strands together into stubby ponytails for some a whimsical touch.

boy crying

How To Help Children Overcome Haircut Anxiety

Then one day the fun comes to a grinding halt when the hair is just too much to handle. A simple solution is to head out to a salon or barbershop for a trim. Sound easy enough? Not so fast! Haircut anxiety is very real. And when a non-compliant toddler refuses to sit still in the chair, the situation can be very stressful. Reading children's books about characters getting their first haircut can definitely help. Here are some additional pointers for children unwilling to comply.


child getting haircut


Tip #1: Find a Salon Just for Kids

There are lots of hair cut businesses specifically set up for young children. The chairs look like oversized toys and may even come equipped with built-in entertainment like sounds and lights. The entire space is painted in bright colors that appeal to little ones. Fun movies are playing on televisions displayed on the walls. The waiting area is filled with children's books and toys to occupy little ones until it is their turn. All of the customers are kids just like your own who are brave enough face the stylist. The entire setting is designed to help little kids feel at ease.


kid hair salon


Tip #2: Allow Your Child to Bring a Special Item from Home

Children anxious about facing new experiences often do better with the comfort of a favorite stuffed animal, blanket, or toy. There is nothing wrong with allowing your child to tuck a special something under an arm or on a lap for the duration of the haircut. This object symbolizes safety and security for your little one, and may give them the boost of bravery needed to get through the first haircut.


child hugging stuffed bear


Tip #3:  Bring Along Lollipops

There is a very good reason barber shops and salons keep a stash of lollipops. These treats take awhile to finish, often more than enough time to cut a child's hair. The sweet distraction of the candy and the calming effect of sitting still and sucking on a lollipop usually does the trick. Dum Dums are the most popular brand that shops keep in a jar up front. But feel free to take the lollipop game to the next level with larger suckers that you only pull out for special haircuts!


dum dums



Tip #4: Make Sure Your Toddler is Well-Rested with a Full Tummy

Taking care of physical needs is a must in order for the entire process to go smoothly. A cranky child is less likely to sit still, follow directions, and generally comply with the haircutter's instructions. If possible, schedule your child's first haircut in the morning after they have awoken from a solid night of sleep in their own bed. Also, if the hair appointment is close to mealtime, feed your child beforehand or at least provide a hearty snack. Taking care of sleep and food ahead of time will go a long way in making things easier for your child.


toddler eating


Tip #5: A Little Bribery Goes a Long Way

There is nothing wrong with rewarding a young child with a small toy after a successful haircut. Of course, you will want to set some limits on the size and price of the reward ahead of time. But by promising a child the opportunity to stop at a store to pick out a treat may be well worth your while. Just the thought and anticipation of getting a new toy may be enough to distract your child during the haircut itself.


child holding toy camera


Tip #6: When All Else Fails, Buy Some Clippers

Forcing a child who is not ready to get a haircut may not be the right thing to do. If the situation is causing an inordinate amount of anxiety and resistance, then it is ok to just postpone the event until a later time. Purchase some clippers or haircutting scissors and give your child a haircut in the comfort of home. At this point, it may not matter if the hairlines are straight or bangs are a little choppy. Snipping the ends of straggly, unruly hair will just have to be enough until the child is ready for a professional cut.


barber shop


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