My child hates haircuts! What now?


Snapping scissors and vibrating clippers may cause great discomfort and sometimes even anxiety, tantrums and sobs in toddlers, but it doesn’t have to be a dreadful experience.


A few ways to ease the haircut jitters:

  1. Distraction: This is the most powerful tool to get your child through a haircut.
  2. Pre-haircut role play: At home, before the real haircut, set the scene for a make-belief haircut. Take turns, letting your child also -cut your hair with his fingers, making snipping sounds.
  3. Superhero mode for boys: Pretend that the hairdresser’s cape is a Batman cape or Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak and make a game of it.
  4. Mirror-mirror on the wall: Your child could either be frightened by the sight of a sharp blade approaching his head, or he can be frightened by only hearing the clipping sounds and not seeing where it comes from. It is your task to find out. Turn them away from the mirror or jack up the chair so they can see their own reflection.
  5. Partner up: Let him imitate dad or an older brother, or even you. Get a haircut at the same time, or let your child join you to observe when you get a haircut. Go about the haircut calmly and make it seem like fun. You could use the same hair salon when your child grows familiar with the surroundings and the staff.
  6. Get a hairdresser used to cutting kids’ hair if your child doesn’t get on with your personal hairdresser, or go to a kids’ hair salon.
  7. Good timing: Take care to not subject your child to a stressful haircut when she is already wound up, grouchy, tired or hungry.
  8. Reassurance and praise: Reassure your child throughout the haircut in a soothing voice and give regular praise if she sits still.
  9. Make it fun: This is where the right hairdresser plays a big role. Giving the scissors or clippers a character name and playing out certain scenes will help your child relax and maybe even laugh a little.
  10. Just a quick stop before a treat follows: Positive reinforcement will condition your child in the long run to become fonder of cutting hair. Take her for a haircut just before going for a milkshake or a fun trip to the mall.
  11. Keep it simple: Choose a haircut that does not take too long. There is no reason to lengthen the trauma.
  12. Something familiar: Allow your child to take her blanky or teddy bear with to ease the tension.
  13. Get to the bottom of it: What puts them off the haircut? Try to find out and eliminate, soften or address that aspect. If it is the sound of the snapping scissor or the buzz of the clippers, try earplugs.
  14. Unbroken rhythm: The hairdresser must be focused on the task at hand the whole time, without pausing to reach for something or to chat. Pausing will leave your child in anticipation, which is not a good way to fight anxiety.
  15. Routine and information: Children deal better with things when they know what to expect and when to expect it, so make a regular appointment and let your child know well in advance.
  16. Make a fuss: When he has made it through the haircut, shower him with compliments.
  17. Get a home haircutting kit: If all else fails, learn to do it yourself at home where your child is in familiar surroundings and with people he trusts. Use a clipper with blade guards to prevent any injury or bad haircuts.
  18. Give her the bigger picture: Teach her about hygiene and grooming at home. Read fun stories on it, and look for children’s programmes that show characters taking care of their body, like brushing teeth, clipping nails and cutting hair.
  19. Children with Autism or Asperger’s syndrome have a particular dislike in haircuts and will need extra attention and sensitivity.


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