Everyone wants their child to look great, especially for big events like the first day of school, confirmation, or a trip to Grandma’s. But a trip to the beauty salon can be intimidating and downright scary for a child, and can present a unique set of challenges for the stylist. Here’s how everyone can work together to get a great look and a great experience for the child.
First of all, it’s a good idea to know what kind of look you want for your child ahead of time. Try searching on the internet or even just dropping by the salon to look at style books. The stylist will want to know how long or short you want your child’s hair, if you want the hair layered, and where you want the sideburns and/or bangs to fall. You may have special instructions for cowlicks, bangs, or clipper numbers. You can even bring in pictures of haircuts that you would like for your child. If you know this information ahead of time, it will mean less time in the salon for your child, which means a less stressful experience for them.
Another way to make the experience less stressful is to practice! Some children are scared of the salon because they don’t know what to expect. Pretend play is a great way to help them know what will happen when they go the salon and will help them work through some of their fears ahead of time. You can ‘practice’ putting on a pretend cape sitting in a pretend salon chair, and combing and pretending to cut their hair. Daddy’s electric shaver makes a similar noise and vibration to a clipper, and showing this to the child may help him or her feel more comfortable with the trimmers or clippers at a salon. Don’t forget to practice sitting very, very still! If a child is especially fearful, you could ask the salon to show them around and explain everything a few days before the appointment, kind of like a dry run.
Remember that salons can be very noisy and busy places. The distractions can scare a young child, or at the least, make it difficult for them to sit still because they want to see everything that is going on. Try to come when the salon is the least busy so that it is quieter and more relaxing for everyone.
You can help the stylist do a great job by helping your child sit still. Use incentives (such as a lollipop!), distractions (maybe a video), or even hold your child on your lap. The more still your child can sit, the faster the stylist can finish the service and the more precise the haircut can be. You can entertain your chid – and the stylist! – with stories, songs, and talking about your day, your pets, and your favorite vacations. If you are relaxed and enjoying the visit, your little one will likely be more relaxed, too.
You know your child best, so know when to call it a day. Some children love getting their hair done while others are very disturbed by it. Sometimes its the noise, sometimes its the vibrations of the clippers, or sometimes it just plain bothers and upsets them. This is very normal and will likely pass as the grow older. However, it just may not be possible to safely complete a “perfect” haircut on a child that is crying or just can’t sit still. Just remember that it’s ok if your child has a hard time with getting haircuts. No matter what happens, keep the lines of communication open with your child’s stylist and try to keep the mood upbeat. Your child’s stylist will do their best to see to it that your child has a great haircut and a great salon experience.