Yes, You Can Make Kids’ Haircuts Painless

Yes, You Can Make Kids’ Haircuts Painless

Dreading taking your kids to get their hair cut? These tips will keep you all smiling.

By Kelly Bryant

Oh, the child haircut – it should be all sorts of fun, what with those cute, car-shaped salon chairs and the promise of a balloon or lollipop at the end. But for many children, the idea of getting a new ’do is met with tears and tantrums. My boys, for example, rock the shaggy surfer look not really for style, but because the mere mention of a haircut sends them into panic mode – and me into a frenzy.

So can a trip to the kiddie salon ever be tear-free? The answer is yes, at least according to these in-the-know folks.

For starters, try leading by example. “Bring child[ren] to the salon with you before their haircut to watch you get one,” advises hairstylist Lauren Carelli of Blushing Brides in Boston, Massachusetts. “Seeing that you aren't in any sort of pain will help ease their fear of pain. We are constantly telling kids to be careful with scissors, ‘They can cut you.’ Well, how would you feel if you didn't know any better and you were told to sit in a chair while someone took scissors to your head?”

It’s helpful to find a salon that caters specifically to children, but more importantly, a stylist with patience and a gentle nature. "My best approach with scared or uneasy child[ren] in my hair salon chair is to always take the extra time needed to become their friend and relate to their fear,” says Maria Occhipinti of Ria’s Salon in Boca Raton, Florida. “I will gently talk with them to find what they are interested in. I try to approach the child gently and as a friend."

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Also consider small things that may affect the way your child views haircuts, like the seemingly innocuous word “cut.”

“In my experience, it seems that the words ‘cut your hair’ scare kids silly,” says Belinda Noguera of TB Studio in Pembroke Pines, Florida. “They associate ‘cut your hair’ with getting cut. They think it's going to be painful. Plus, here is this strange person – we tell our kids stranger equals danger – coming at them with a sharp scissor and they are going to cut their hair. We might want to change it to, ‘We are going to fix your hair.’” The words “trim” or “style” are also perfectly non-scary alternatives.

For little boys, take care with those clippers! Sometimes the sound alone can frighten a child, so explain what’s about to happen. “Allow the child to touch the clippers to feel the vibration,” says Sandi Arensman, a Dallas, Texas-based hair stylist. “Explain to them what the clippers are and what they will be used for.”

If all else fails, why not try a haircut party? Sometimes peer participation makes the process a bit easier. “Make an official playdate at the salon with multiple children to celebrate their haircuts,” says Arensman. “This support system can be important in forming favorable opinions about getting their hair cut.”

Do you have any tried-and-true tricks for a smooth haircut?

Kelly Bryant is a freelance writer and pop culture junkie. She resides in Los Angeles with her husband and their two sons. Follow her on Twitter @MsKellyBryant.

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