You’d think I was raising Rapunzel. At three and a half years old – with waves down to her butt – my older toddler recently got her very first haircut. Yes, I said FIRST. (Can’t help it: I’m obsessed with keeping things things Fabulous. And long hair on a little girls = Fabulous in my twisted world. If it grows, I’ll let it So I did.) The perks of not cutting it until now? A gorgeous head of cascades almost as long as her whole little body that made her look like a walking cartoon character. The downside? At three and a half, she was conscious to know that we were going do something ‘new’… which scared her. She was thoroughly spooked at the mere mention of the word “haircut,” and I had to figure out (fast!) how to make it all better. (I’d heard stories of mom friends taking their tots for first haircuts and then having to leave and come back several times before the kid would actually sit in the chair… yeah, wasn’t gonna do that.)
Here are some tips that quelled the fear in my little girl and got us all shaped up. Hope they help:
1) DON’T USE THE WORD “CUT.” My mistake. The word “cut” is scary — cuts hurt, cuts bleed, cuts make you cry. Try using the word “trim” instead. We’re going to get a TRIM! How fun is that gonna be?!? I talked up our fun and special trip to the “Little Girl Salon” a few days beforehand to try and create some positive buzz.
2) GO TO A KIDDIE PLACE. Bright colors, balloons, a fun play area to wait in… even fancy cars to sit in and individual TV screens in front of each chair can do wonders for your kid’s comfort. The stylists in these specialty places are generally more experienced when it comes to dealing with little ones. (For the record, we got to watch a few episodes of My Little Pony during our “trim.” Fabulous, no?)
3) CUT A PIECE OF YOUR OWN HAIR OFF FIRST. Nothing drastic, just barely a quarter of an inch. A shave, if you will. When my girl started going down her rabbit hole of crying shaking her head ‘no’ and pulling at my arm to get the heck outta the place (just before we got her in the chair) I had to think fast: Look babe! She’s going to snip a bit of my hair off and I’ll show you it won’t hurt at all. I grabbed the very end of my ponytail, held it out for the stylist to snip (she looked at me like I was nuts, but then I nodded and insisted she tip my ends) and that was that. See! Didn’t hurt at all! Done! The relief on my little girl’s face was something I’d never seen so poignantly before. And into the pink-and-white sportscar she sat without screaming or any issue.
4) BE INVOLVED (if only for the beginning). This is a little helicopter-y, but new experiences can be daunting for little ones. I stood right by my little girl’s chair and told the stylist exactly how much I wanted cut off the bottom. Since I’ve brainwashed my girl into being obsessed with long hair, she was scared we were going to cut all of her hair off. Just a little bit… it’ll still be long… My presence seemed to make things more comfortable.
5) BRIBE THEM. Use the word ‘incentive’ if it makes you feel better. You’ll get a balloon! You’ll get a lollipop! You’ll get that princess dress! I’m not above using bribery if it gets the job done (just for the first time, though).
BONUS TIP: Leave siblings at home. If I had to deal with my two year old’s drama too, this cut would’ve never happened. And taking your tot one-on-one makes it ‘special.’
End of story: We’ve still got long hair with barely an inch trimmed off. And we can’t stop talking and smiling about our first haircut. Now that didn’t hurt at all.
DID YOU TODDLER FREAK OUT WHEN IT CAME TIME TO GET A HAIRCUT? HOW DID YOU HANDLE IT?