It’s time for your kid’s haircut – maybe it’s the first haircut and you’re not sure where to turn.
Or maybe your toddler was a crying disaster at the last haircut and you’re thinking there’s got to be a better way.
And there is a better way!
With a few simple tips you can stack the odds of having a good experience in your favor.
#1 Kids haircuts are tough enough: So prep your child (and yourself)!
As you can see in the photo above, not all children will embrace the salon experience from the onset. Toddlers, in particular, have the remarkable quality of being, how to put this nicely…..insane.
So, you will want to prepare as best you can.
Here are some ways to prepare your child, especially if it’s their first haircut:
- Take your child to the salon where they’ll be getting their haircut a few days in advance. Let them take a quick look around, see other kids getting haircuts, and just generally familiarize themselves with the place.
- Pack an extra shirt in case your child refuses to wear the cape. (Little kids love superheroes, so you can always describe the cape as a Superhero cape to get them more on board).
- Explain to your child that they’re getting their hair “styled” or trimmed”. It’s better to avoid using the word “cut” for small children, as this can sound scary.
Kids do better when they know what to expect! And haircuts are no exception.
Give your child a quick run-down of what will happen at the salon, especially if it’s a young (toddler) aged child having their haircut for the first time.
It’s especially important that your child is comfortable with the buzzing noises of the clippers! A good stylist will show your child the tools they’re using, and even let them touch the stylist tools when possible, to minimize fear here.
You can also make up funny names for the buzzer, like “Tickle Machine” so it seems less menacing.
Some kids are more sensitive in these situations than others, so the amount of prep you need to do will vary.
And finally – make sure you’re relaxed yourself! Kids will pick up on a parent’s nervous energy. If you’re anxious about the haircut (especially if it’s a first cut!) then your child will be too.
Remind yourself that this is a normal experience and nothing to fret about. Your kid will be fine. Your kid will look awesome.
It’s all good.
#2 Find a Kid-Friendly Salon in Your Area
This is key.
Some salons (like Snip-its) cater exclusively to young kids. Other salons don’t specialize in haircuts for kids, but are still kid-friendly and well equipped to handle small kids.
If you don’t have a place in mind, I would just ask on a local Facebook group! Everyone loves to give out this kind of advice. So take it!
You can also check local Yelp reviews and talk to friends in your area. It should be simple enough to find some leads.
Personally, I prefer going straight for a “kid” salon a la Snip-Its, although we’ve had success in both types of places.
What I like about “Kid Salons”:
- They only work with kids! This is their “thing” and it shows. For example, Snip-Its has the following:
- Lollipops at every counter
- Animal crackers at every counter
- Prizes at the checkout
- Music and popular kids’ shows playing on repeat
Now, this may sound like a level of hell to you. I understand this. As I’m typing this it sounds kind of like a nightmare to me!
But, in practice, I love it.
I love it because the kids love it. And if the kids love it, that means nobody is fighting against getting their haircut. My boys will actually request to go to Snip-Its!
Everyone on the staff is used to working with kids and is totally unfazed by tears. They’ve seen it all, which helps you not feel bad if your kid acts like a maniac.
Note – This isn’t an ad for Snip-its, it just happens to be the kid-salon near our house. Please insert whatever kid-salon is nearest to you.
If you choose to go to a regular salon, consider this:
I would absolutely call ahead to make sure that the salon is ok for small kids! Just ask.
You can also request to have a stylist who’s comfortable with young kids. Many aren’t! You want to make sure it’s a good fit, so don’t leave this up to chance.
The last thing you want is to bring a cranky toddler into a space where other women are trying to get some peace and quiet away from their own kids!
If the salon is clearly aimed toward a spa-like experience, caters mainly to adults, etc. I would really suggest staying clear. You’ll just stress yourself and everyone around you out with a small child.
However, if you call ahead and find that it’s a family type of hairdresser then that should work too.
Note: If you go to a regular salon and not a “kid salon” make sure you pack your own entertainment (i.e. small toys), snacks or lollipops, etc. Kid salons will have this on hand, but adult salons are unlikely to.
We took my son to an adult salon for his first haircut, because this is where I got my very first haircut as a little girl! So, that was pretty special.
But assuming you don’t have a “legacy” salon in your family I’d just go the easy kid-salon route for a first haircut.
#3 Find a Hairstyle Idea You Love
It’s so easy to find ideas! Check out Pinterest as a good place to start. Just type in “kids haircuts ___________” and lots of ideas will come up for the blank.
- kids haircuts for boys
- kids haircuts medium
- kids haircuts curly
- kids haircuts shoulder length
- kids haircuts for toddlers
Ignore the photo of the dog in the center. Unless you like his hair. If so feel free to pin for inspiration.
It’s easiest to see all of these options if you’re using Pinterest on desktop, but obviously mobile is fine too!
If your child is old enough, let them choose a style they love. You can look through some photos with them to see what may work.
You can also try Instagram using the hashtags #kidhaircuts or #kidhairstyles for ideas.
I’ve been remiss in this step, and I always regret it! I get to the salon and the stylist is like “how would you like me to cut it?” and I stare blankly at her and say something like “shorter.”
That is not the way to be. I’m always kicking myself for not coming in prepared with a photo of a style I like.
Don’t be like me. Bring a photo.
#4 Go at the Right Time.
This advice is twofold. You need to go at the right age for your child and you also need to go at the right time of day.
So, when to cut?
This will depend! Babies as young as a few months old sometimes get their haircut, and others don’t get their first haircut for years!
Just a note, once you cut off “baby curls” they don’t necessarily grow back. So make sure you’re ready for the new “big kid” look before you schedule an appointment!
Keep in mind that an older baby will have greater head control, which could make things easier.
A younger baby can always sit on your lap during the haircut if needed.
Here are a few signs that your kid’s first haircut may be in order:
- Hair is starting to get in your child’s eyes and become bothersome.
- “Fly-aways” on the sides are starting to look like wings.
- Your friend asks you when you’re going to cut your kid’s hair and tells you that maybe you’re too close to the situation to see things clearly. This may have happened to us. And my friend was *perhaps* correct in retrospect. Ha!
The best time of day for a kids haircut
You want to take your kid to get their haircut when they are well-rested and have eaten! Nobody wants a hangry child at a haircut.
Avoid taking a child to the salon near nap time, meal time, or at the end of a very long day.
Do yourself a favor and think through the daily schedule so you can find the time when your kid is likely to be in a good frame of mind.
#5 Have Distractions & Treats on Hand
You will for sure want to be prepared with lollipops (or some sort of easy to manage treat)!
At our local salon they hand out fistfuls of lollipops. They’re just like, you know what guys, HAVE ALL THE LOLLIPOPS.
And for certain situations, i.e. haircuts with young kids, I’m fine with that.
Taking along a special lovey or little toy that your child can hold is a big help. And a few goldfish crackers can go a long way. That’s all I’m sayin’.
#6 Write Down What Worked
This is a step that’s easy to overlook but can save you a hassle later.
I’m not suggesting writing an essay here.
I’m just suggesting that you jot down a few notes such as:
- The name of the stylist for future reference (if you had a good experience)
- The clipper length that was used (they always ask me what length I want and I never remember off the top of my head!)
- The name of the style you like
Don’t forget to save a lock of baby hair if this is the first haircut for your child.
If you want to.
Some of you may think this is creepy, but lots of you probably want to stash away the lock of hair in a keepsake box. This reminder is for that second group.
And there you have it!
Simply RINSE AND REPEAT (Get it?? That’s just a little gentle salon humor for you right there).