Tips to Survive Your Child’s First Haircut

Posted August 19, 2016 by Julie in Parenting, TopPosts / 31 Comments

Last weekend my son got his first haircut. At the tender age of 21 months old, it was time. It was beyond time.

My darling son has inherited my hair. He has inherited the curl and the fullness, but also the instant puff-out-in-all-directions head that happens any time you step outside into the humid Texas day. And if it is raining even a little? Fuhgetaboutit.

We like to go for walks after I get home from work, and the temperatures have calmed to a balmy but no longer surface-of-the-sun level. Or, I should say, my toddler demands we got outside upon my stepping foot in the door. I sometimes am not allowed to eat dinner first. Maybe that’s the real reason I have lost 30+ pounds so far.

After a fun walk around the neighborhood, with some playing on the slides and swings, my little man’s hair resembles a beehive. Mine doesn’t look much better. I should wear more hats. While bath time tamed it, my toddler’s hair still curled around and stuck out quite a bit all day.

So, haircut. First ever haircut of a toddler boy. You can imagine just how that went.

Tips to Survive your child's first haircut

Tips to Survive a Toddler’s First Haircut

Both parents team up

Since my husband was home that particular weekend, I took the opportunity to get his help with this scary endeavor. While we tried to have the toddler sit down in a booster by himself first, we ultimately had to restrain him. My husband sat in the standard chair and held our child on his lap. I then held his face (the toddler’s, not my husband’s) and tried to calm him and keep him from shaking his head around. Well, as best I could. Is your toddler stronger than you, too?

Pick a stylist who can handle squirming kids

When we walked into the salon, the first person who was available asked us to pass her by since she didn’t feel comfortable cutting such a young boy’s (aka squirmy toddler’s) hair. I am happy she spoke up. The other lady who was available was very patient and quick. She was prepared for his shenanigans and got the job done in just a few minutes. She earned her tip.

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I’ve heard a lot of people say to go to a special children’s salon. Since we were on a military base for other reasons, we went with the on-base salon. Our kid’s first haircut and on a military base, quite fitting for our lives. With our child’s temperament, I doubt a particular car-shaped seat would help, and it may overstimulate him, but it is worth a try next time.

Calm the child, or bribe him, with distractions

If your child is not as wild a dragon beastie as mine, you might be able to calm him or her down before and during the event. I tried to explain to my son what was about to happen, but my young toddler just did not understand what we were doing. I then tried to calm him down with some Scooby Snacks (peanut butter crackers in this case), but that only worked at first. I also had his pacifier ready and tried to let him play on my phone. I ended up having to touch his face to help him through it. Be prepared with distractions that work with your child, but also don’t have your expectations too high.

We survived our first toddler haircut as a family even though there were some tears and crying involved. We, the adults, did our best to stay calm and reassure our child. My handsome little guy got over it pretty quickly once we left the salon and we celebrated at the food court with some yummy snacks.

While I don’t expect our next toddler haircut to be in another 21 months, I am hoping his hair doesn’t grow too fast that the beehive curls that stick out in all directions return sooner than we would like. And maybe we should get in the habit of going on our evening walks, wearing hats.

Do you have tips to share on toddlers and first (or second, or third) haircuts?



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JuliepicI'm Julie, a new mom who works full time and blogs, all while wishing I had more time to read fun books. I write about being a first time working mom in order to help myself and other working moms in our journeys to find balance between family, responsibilities, and hobbies so we can thrive both at home and at work.
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31 responses to “Tips to Survive Your Child’s First Haircut

  1. The first haircut went well for us because he had no idea what was happening! 😉 lol There was also a lollipop involved … Since then he has wised up and won’t go in a barbershop without screaming – hence his much longer hair! 🙂

  2. I can totally relate to this! We just had our first haircut a few months ago. My son was 18 months old at the time. Distractions is key!

  3. Great tips! Definitely good to have a plan going in – we like to put a new movie on the iPad to keep their minds elsewhere & their heads still 🙂

  4. My son’s hair was the same way! He used to wake up with the most incredible bed head. And distractions were our saving grace. We made sure to have one of his favorite movies (Despicable Me) downloaded on one of our phones whenever we took him in. The first few haircuts were a little rough, but they get better. Now he looks forward to going.

    • I’ll have to have a movie or something ready for next time, maybe that will help. Oh man that bed head when the hair is long! Right now I don’t even have to brush it, so much better!

  5. My middle child has autism, and NOTHING calms him. Haircuts are Armageddon. So we’ll cut his hair every 3-4 months or so super-short. I hope he grows out of it ?

    • I don’t really know how to cut hair, and I don’t think it would be much better since brushing teeth is a huge fight every night I’m just hoping it will get easier soon like you said.

  6. Definitely need to find a stylist who’s prepared, it makes such a difference! My 21 month old doesn’t need a haircut yet since he was BALD until 16 months haha. But he got a “pretend” haircut today like his big brother so we’re training for that day 🙂

    • Great idea to do a pretend cut so he knows the idea. Yea mine wasn’t bald but he had VERY short hair until about a year old and then it started filling in. An then all of a sudden bam huge crazy curly fro

  7. Aww, lol! I remember back in the day…such precious memories. My oldest’s first haircut was a disaster! She wouldn’t take her hat off after that for anything.

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