It’s hard to give haircuts to children under two because they wriggle around so much, and it’s hard to cut the hair of children over two because they’re often afraid of haircuts, and struggle and resist. Two and three-year-olds often believe that haircuts hurt, that shampoo will get in their eyes and sting, and that they’ll be helpless sitting in front of a stranger with scissors.
It might help to give your child a doll to play beauty shop with. As she washes and cuts (or pretends to cut) the doll’s 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 it’s hard for young children to hold still, you shouldn’t expect your child’s 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 children’s hair. Before you bring her in for an appointment, you might want to observe the stylist and talk to him or her about your child’s anxiety.
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 you’re determined to take her to a stylist, let her sit on your lap during the haircut, distract her with an interesting object, or promise her a treat.