Avoiding Children’s Haircut Disasters
Avoiding Children’s Haircut Disasters
You probably don’t think twice about going to a salon and having a haircut. It’s routine and can be a real pleasure. Have you ever thought about it from a small child’s perspective? All of us with children dream about having that wonderful toddler that just sits there quietly and still. Our “little angel” leaves the salon sporting the latest trendy style. How hard can it be, right? The answer might surprise you.
Reasons for Haircut Anxiety in Small Children
Think about how many times you have told your children: “don’t touch those scissors, THEY CAN CUT YOU!”? Your goal is a noble one – to instill a healthy respect, but your child may actually be very afraid of scissors.
How does your youngster respond to total strangers touching his or her head? What about the fact that the total stranger is then going to touch your child’s head with those potentially scary scissors?
Have you considered the fact that a child can’t see their own body under the cape? In the mind of a child, it may appear like their body is missing! This can also be scary for a little one.
Creating a Positive Haircutting Experience for a Child
Avoiding Haircut Disasters
1. While the tools of the trade are very sharp and can be dangerous, please do not tell your little person: “DON’T move or they will CUT you!”. Scaring your child into sitting still will not work well. (A normal human response to fear is “fight or flight”. Neither is good in the context of a haircut.)
2. Often the back of the neck is ticklish. Please don’t call attention to this fact if your child wiggles in response to this slight tickling. It will only reinforce the fact that they are ticklish, they will respond accordingly and be even more unable to sit still.
3. Unless a child absolutely needs to be held on your knee or needs to hold your hand, please just position yourself somewhere that your child can see you. Let the hairstylist talk to your child, build a rapport and guide your child through the experience.
4. If you’re taking your child to a new salon, visit it a few times before the scheduled appointment and allow your youngster to get comfortable in the new surroundings. Meet the stylist and talk to him or her a couple of times.
5. If your child does not cooperate and it becomes stressful for him or her, don’t force them to have a haircut. It won’t go well and the anxiety around the experience will only make it more difficult in the future.
6. It is a good idea to bring a spare shirt for kids to change into afterward. You know yourself that stray hairs can be itchy and uncomfortable.
7. Don’t get upset. If you get frustrated you greatly increase the likelihood that your child will act up. The stylist will get frustrated. It won’t be a good experience for you, your child, or your stylist.
8. Don’t be afraid to assess the professionalism of your stylist. His or her job is to put all clients at ease – even the little ones.
Your stylist should be a professional who understands the importance of creating a positive experience for wee ones. A professional should realize that everything about a haircut for a small child is uncharted territory. I recommend that your stylist show your child the hair cutting tools he or she is going to use, how the tools work, what they sounds like and why they are going to be used. Clippers can be especially scary. A child should be allowed to touch them, get used to the sound of them and learn how they work. This will help remove fear of the unknown and instill confidence that the experience won’t hurt. Your stylist should be gentle and patient, putting your little one at ease, as well as able to work quickly and efficiently.
Lee at Zebedeez Hair Design has raised six children of her own. Before having kids, she admits that she really didn’t understand how a child’s mind worked. Now she has a “way” with kids and most of the time a haircut is a great experience for them. Besides the above techniques, there is also a candy bowl at the desk as a reward for good behaviour. Another special incentive she uses with kids that have a particularly rough time sitting still is “The Spray Bottle Reward”. If the child manages the challenge of sitting still, he or she is allowed to spray Lee’s husband, Ray, (a hair stylist in the same salon) with the water atomizer. These kids usually work extra hard at sitting still so they can “get” Ray.
Along with children’s haircuts, Lee and Ray also specialize in dealing with thinning hair, colours, and extensions. If you have any questions or concerns about getting a haircut for your child, please visit Lee or Ray at Zebedeez Hair Salon,1115 Hammond Street, Carstairs, Alberta or call 403-337-8600.