|The novelty of the new toy may distract your child for a few minutes while giving the stylist a chance to get started and even finish a haircut.
By CHRISTINE WANS
Most parents have no idea why toddler haircuts can be such a miserable experience. But this non-threatening activity can actually be very frightening to an itty bitty person, particularly one who has never had a haircut. Going to a professional barber or hair salon can be scary. New faces, new smells, and bizarre hair-cutting tools can overwhelm even the most easygoing toddler!
In my case, after my son got his first haircut, it took him a long time to even dare go near any place that resembled a hair salon or barber shop. We are still not sure what frightened him the most, but after several failed attempts I came up with a few strategies to calm us all.
Most important, accept that your child is afraid. We spend the first few years of our baby's life telling them not to put dangerous objects near their eyes and ears. Of course, when a stranger takes a scissors or a pair of clippers to their head, they will likely go bananas - and not in a good way.
1. Try having your child sit on your or your spouse's lap. Of course, this may require getting a little down and hairy, but a toddler or young child will feel more secure if you are sitting with them.
2. Be sure to go at a time of day that your child is their happiest. For instance if your toddler is hungry and in need of a nap, do not attempt a haircut! This will only lead to emotional chaos and a traumatic experience for everyone involved.
3. While candy may seem like a good idea, picture this: A lollipop will be covered with hair after the hairdresser starts clipping. Yuck! If you toddler is like mine, the gross lollipop will only lead to a major meltdown and, well, there goes the haircut. Save it for when the haircut is finished.
4. Plan ahead and bring a small inexpensive toy that your child has never seen before. The novelty of the new toy may only last a few minutes (or seconds), but this might give the stylist the chance to get started and even finish a haircut.
5. If all else fails, cutting your toddler's hair yourself is a great option. Toddlers usually have a lot of wiggle room for errors since they do not require the latest trend in hair styles. Use some small scissors and head out to the backyard. Use an old T-shirt instead of a cape and have your spouse blow some bubbles. Sometimes being in their comfort zone will change everything.
It is very common for toddlers and young children to get hysterical during haircuts. There was a time when I thought my son would never get through a haircut without tears, but now he does. He just needed to learn that haircuts are not scary, and he gets a lollipop afterwards!
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