For most of us a trip to the hair salon is a fun and exciting experience. It’s a time of personal creativity and relaxation. One of the few appointments on the calendar that we truly look forward to. But unfortunately for most toddlers this is not the case. Quite the opposite to be exact!

Unfamiliar faces, loud noises from hair dryers and other salon equipment can create an unsettling environment for young children. In most cases these little emotions manifests themselves as big tears and big tantrums. While I don’t have a magic formula to change the local salon in to Disneyland, I can offer a few helpful solutions to your little one’s biggest fears.

  • The stylist for you may not be the stylist for your tot. When making an appointment for a youth haircut, be sure to request someone who is experienced and enthusiastic about working with children. Ask if your child can touch the un-activated clipper or hold a comb of their own during the haircutting process to feel more in control. If you child feels welcomed by the stylist, they will feel as if they belong in the chair.
  • Unrealistic style expectations equal frustration and disappointment for all involved. There is basically a 15-20 minute window that most children will sit still. Whatever style that can be executed and executed well in that 15-20 time frame is the look you need to go for. The goal is to look neat and presentable, not to be a fashion model.
  • Always bring a fresh change of clothes and the ultimate snack reward! With all the restlessness of toddler movements, hair gets everywhere creating itchy agitation. The relief of a fresh shirt and the anticipation of the ultimate snack reward reserved for salon visits only is a great incentive for the food driven toddler to behave. Let’s face it, who doesn’t want that chocolate chip granola bar at the end of the journey?

For the child that simply will NOT sit still for the love of God, you might need to throw in a visual distraction. Yes, the smartphone and/or the Ipad. During a time when we are trying our hardest to buy some time before hooking or youngsters on the technology bandwagon, I am recommending to reserve certain games or movies for “haircutting” occasions only. A special 15 minute treat to get the job done, period. Trust me, your youngster’s stylist will love you for it!

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