I am just going to come out and say it, my children are awesome at getting their hair cut. They always have been. All four of them actually. I don’t think you need to be jealous though because I truly believe all children can be great at getting their hair cut.
I’ve never really given too much thought to any of this. Not until I brought my children for the free kids cuts in August at JC Penney. It was only for kids in grades K-6 though which meant only my two middle kids could get their haircut for free. My oldest and youngest I scheduled with our usual hairdresser.
I have a hairdresser whom I have been using since we moved up here 9 years ago. She is great and very experienced. It’s a great price too, but she couldn’t beat free. But over the past nine years I have been taking my children to this same place. There were a few times I have strayed for various reasons. My hairdresser was booked, or was away and I really needed a haircut. Every time I have regretted it too.
Like the time I went to Super Cuts when my now 10 year old was just shy of her 2nd birthday. And the girl there who cut her hair got mad because I couldn’t keep her head perfectly still. And she also ended up cutting crooked bangs on her.
The thing with little kids is you’ll never get them to sit perfectly still. You have to move fast and you have to be ready for the slightest head movement. Which of course made me appreciate my experienced hairdresser that much more because she got that.
So when we walked into JC Penney and the woman who was cutting my 4 year old’s hair and my 10 year old’s hair saw my son she asked how old he was. I told her 4, she shook her head and kind of rolled her eyes and looked like she wanted to say something, but didn’t. I thought huh, that’s strange, but it all made sense after we got into the chair and were into the haircut.
You see her experience with cutting small children’s hair was that they do not sit still and are all over the place. Not my kid. He did not stay perfectly still, but he was quiet and he followed directions and much to the hairdressers surprise the clippers did not frighten him. So since apparently this is a rare thing I want to share with you my tips for getting through a haircut.
Monica’s Tips For Surviving A Small Child’s Haircut
Before I start I just want to say I’m happy that I went with my typical hairdresser for my youngest. She just has a better understanding of how to work with my children’s hair. And I might still have to go to her for my son because the front of his hair is a little funky looking to me. It looked fine when we were there, but once he started running around and sweating it got a little wild.
So I guess my number one tip is find someone who is experienced with children. This does not mean you have to go to one of those expensive kid salons though to find that. Actually, I’m not so sure that the hairdressers there have that much experience. My hairdresser has been cutting hair for 30 years now. She knows her stuff and I recommend her to everyone. And with that let me give you my tips.
- Don’t be distracted. When your child is in that chair you need to be paying attention. Giving instructions you know your child will understand. Helping to get his attention in a certain direction to make it easier for the hairdresser to make those quick and efficient cuts. If you just sit down and let the hairdresser do her work, then things will just go down hill because she only has two hands. I always stand right next to my children when they are getting their haircut; observing. Sometimes answering questions about if the length is okay, but with a smile on my face assuring my child that she is not going to be hurt and that the hair looks great, even if each cut has me petrified. I’m always telling myself wait until the end to see it all come together.
- Well rested and fed. Make sure you schedule appointments if at all possible at a time that is not generally nap time or is not too close to lunch or dinner time. If you have no choice then do your best to keep the meltdowns at bay. Make it a low key day so your child isn’t super exhausted. Have snacks. Anticipate every possible need your child might have.
- Work with your child’s personality. If you have shy children like I do, who have severe stranger anxiety, then you need to find a way to ease those fears. When I got my youngest daughter’s hair cut this weekend I had her big sister go first. This way my daughter could get acquainted with the location. There are a few little toys which we took out to play with. My daughter watched her sister in that chair without a problem. Then when it came time for her to go we kept my oldest daughter in that chair and put the baby in her lap and she assisted in holding her head still while I caught her attention to keep her looking where she need to look. I went in there anticipating a meltdown and told the hairdresser what the most important part of the haircut was. In our case we had to get the hair out of her face, so bangs were what we needed the most. It was a bonus if we could go on to even out the rest of her hair. And that we did get to do because she did great.
- Know your child’s comfort level. When we were getting my son’s haircut I told the hairdresser it was fine to use the clippers on him. I know some kids are afraid of it. Our usual hairdresser has been using them on him since his first haircut when he was 2 years old (the poor boy was pretty much bald the first 2 years of his life). She started out by showing him on her hand that it does not hurt, then touched it to him on the cape and then his hand to show him what it does. Explained that it’s just a little noise and he never had a problem with it. Now I know this isn’t going to be true of all kids. I’m sure that’s why our hairdresser gently approached him with the clippers the first time she used them on him and if he had a negative reaction then we would have known that we couldn’t use them. Maybe we would have tried again down the road. But if you get creative and find ways to show your child that it’s not going to hurt, then in many cases your child will tolerate a lot more than you may think.
- Talk it up. We always talk about the haircut for days before. We talk about how we want our hair cut. My son wanted bangs like his sister, ha. He didn’t exactly get what he wanted. My older girls choose their hairstyle, but I still get to tell the hairdresser what I want for my little ones. We’ll talk in very simple terms about what’s going to happen and how pretty or handsome they are going to look. Whatever phrases you have to use to get them excited about it. Yes, I will bring looks into it. Lets face it haircuts are all about looks so why wouldn’t I tout beauty as a bonus of getting a nice haircut? I don’t do this, but I personally am not opposed to bribery at all. Promise a lollypop when it’s over and he has sat in the chair like a big boy. Build excitement around the haircut and not anxiety.
So there you have it. These are the things I do that seem to have worked for all four of my children in the salon chair. I get so many compliments all the time about how well my children sit for haircuts. And I do hope that the hairdresser who was less than enthused about getting stuck with the 4 year old rethinks her reaction and thinks of my son who sat still and allowed her to cut his hair. Taking your children to get their haircut doesn’t have to be a dreadful time. And hairdressers don’t have to lump all children into one mold saying they are all little wiggle worms who are impossible to give the perfect haircut.
I am proof positive that it can work out beautifully. I got my 4 year old and 10 year old’s haircut today in half an hour. My 13 year old and 18 month old took about an hour the other day, but that’s only because my 13 year old has this absurd amount of hair that takes forever to cut. Most of the time was spent working on her and we had about 5 minutes on the baby.
What are your tips for successful haircuts?