Family 411: How to make kids haircuts easier

Taking your toddler to the barber or the hair salon may be “shear” torture. But there are some ways to keep you and the kids calm and prevent meltdowns when they need a haircut. (WSYX/WTTE)

Taking your toddler to the barber or the hair salon may be “shear” torture. But there are some ways to keep you and the kids calm and prevent meltdowns when they need a haircut.

Stylist Leslie Newkirk at Newkirk Design has been cutting hair for 28 years.

Newkirk was washing Cooper’s hair for the first time in the salon when she said that sometimes the water can be scary. Other times it’s the blow dryers and clipper noises that can overwhelm kids.

“Whenever the little one acts afraid, I will ask them to turn it on, and then to feel it so they understand it’s not going to cut them,” said Newkirk.

Words matter when you are chatting with children. Some stylists advise parents not to tell their kids they are getting a hair “cut” because a child may think it will hurt, like a cut. It’s better to use the words trim or style.

Newkirk said it’s good to prepare a small child by talking with them before they get to the salon. “As they get a little older, it would be nice if the parent talks with the child and could be somewhat on the same page,” said Newkirk, who has seen parents and kids argue in the salon.

Laura Rhodes is the mother of three children who said it can get chaotic when they go to the salon. Rhodes said parents need to be patient, bring games and snacks to keep kids occupied. “Talk to them before they come in. Let’s make sure we are polite. Make sure we have fun. And listen. Get nice hair cuts,” said Rhodes.

“Leslie has a drawer of suckers. So they know when they pull in the parking lot that they are going to get suckers,” said Rhodes.

Stylists said some children like to watch movies or use headphones to block noise and soothing music to reduce anxiety.

Rhodes said she appreciates good hair stylists who know how to talk to children. “It is fun to let your kids express themselves and it’s fun to see them grow as themselves in the chair and listen to their little conversations.”

Teens who come into the salon are a different challenge, said Newkirk.

“These kids, they want to be on the cutting edge. So a lot of times parents will use a haircut as a reward.”

“You get to know the family. And that is what I love about it. I have seen first hair cuts. Turn into graduation. Turn into weddings. Turning into their kids getting haircuts, and that’s really cool for me,” said Newkirk.

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