Getting a first haircut can be a very traumatic experience for a child. It’s right up there with getting their first shots, first dental appointment, and first day of school. I mean think about it, they are in a foreign place, with a total stranger coming at their head with a pair of scissors referring to what they are about to do as a “HairCUT.” I’d be a bit concerned too.
Fortunately, they do eventually get over their fear of haircuts, some quicker than others, and there are a few things you can do to make the experience fun… or at least less traumatizing.
1.Talk to them about the haircut a couple of days/weeks before it happens, so that it’s not a surprise to them.
The main purpose of the talk is to prepare them. When talking to your child about the haircut refer to it as a hair “Trim” not a haircut. It sounds less harmful. You can play games, such as a calendar countdown, crossing out the days until their hair “Trim” appointment. Also, there are videos on YouTube that you can watch with them of other kids getting their first trim.
2. Take your little one to a place that specializes in kids.
These places are set up specifically for children and their needs. Equipped with cool chairs to sit in, screens that play children’s videos and tv shows, and prizes to reward them. The stylists at kid’s salons have more experience and patience with children. This is key to you and your child’s experience. If your child does have a difficult time with their first haircut, you want a stylist who has dealt with screaming, crying, moving babies, and who will make you and your child feel comfortable and not like you have the only kid in the world that has a hard time with haircuts.
3. Bring along a couple of their favorite things.
Whether it be a blanket, a pacifier, or even their favorite snack. Like I said before, it’s all about making the child feel comfortable. This will help to ease their anxiety.
4. Reward them.
After their first haircut reward with a new toy, ball, baby doll etc. Only if they do a good job! If they don’t do such a good job still reward them with something small, like a lollipop. Keep the favorite new toy deal on the table if they do good the second time and so forth… Hey, a little incentive never hurt anyone!
For some kids, the fear of haircuts can last long after their first one. Don’t worry! This is very normal. Just be patient and consistent with who you take them to, and they will be fine. Good luck!