Itís hard to give a
haircut to children under two because they wriggle around so much,
and itís hard to cut the hair of children over two because theyíre
often afraid of haircuts, and struggle and resist. Two- and
three-year-olds have a general fear of bodily harm and often believe
that haircuts hurt, that their hair wonít grow back, that shampoo
will get in their eyes and sting, and that they will be helpless sit
ting in front of a stranger with scissors.
You should talk to your child about getting a haircut, and reassure
her. She may feel less anxious if she has a doll to play beauty shop
with. As she washes and cuts (or pretends to cut) the dollís hair,
she may begin to feel in control of a situation that frightens her.
If your child is very young or quite frightened of haircuts, you may
want to cut her hair at home. You or a relative or close friend can
do this as she sits in her high chair and plays with some of her
toys or watches you in a mirror. Since itís hard for young children
to hold still, and since you may not be an experienced stylist, you
shouldnít expect your childís home haircut to be perfect.
When your child is three or four, you may want to take her to a
professional stylist. For a first haircut, go to someone recommended
by other parents or someone who specializes in cutting childrenís
hair. Before you bring her in for an appointment, you might want to
observe the stylist and talk to him or her about your childís
Your child might feel comfortable going to the same barber shop or
hair salon you use. She may have seen your stylist at work already
and be familiar with the surroundings and the people in the shop.
Taking her with you when you (or your older child) get a haircut is
a good way to help her get over her fears. If she resists
professional haircuts but youíre determined to take her to a
stylist, try to distract her with an interesting object or by
promising her a treat. One mother held her son on her lap during
haircuts when he was under two, and when he was over two, she tried
to distract him with a few play things.
When your child is five she may develop clear opinions about hair
styles. She may prefer a particular look: long hair, short hair,
bangs, and a ponytail. One boy told his mother he wanted a curl on
his forehead Ďjust like Supermanís.Ē If you donít agree with your
childís choice, the two of you may struggle before each haircut. Try
to remember your own childhood arguments about hair, and how it felt
to have no control over your looks. If you let your child have some
say in how she wears her hair, trips to the stylist usually will go