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How To Get Kids To Behave At The Hair Salon

If you’re not properly prepared for it, taking your children to the hairdresser can be a real ordeal. We have all felt the pang of sympathy for the child who couldn’t sit still and ended up with a lopsided cut, or for the stylist who needs to contend with a terrified youngster who doesn’t know what all those scissors and things are for. But with the right knowledge and preparation, you can make it a pleasant trip for everyone.

Step 1: Schedule An Appointment

Even if you usually don’t, schedule an appointment for your childrens’ hair cuts. That gives you the opportunity to tell them well in advance, “We are going to the salon to get your hair cut,” and minimizes waiting time once you get there. This helps delay the inevitable onset of wanderlust in younger children; if you can avoid waiting at all, then that is best.

Step 2: Inform And Involve

Even young children have very strong developing self-images, and it can be traumatic to them to be seated in the salon chair and shorn without so much as a by your leave. As the day of the appointment approaches, let your child know why he or she is getting a haircut: “Your hair is starting to get in your eyes and make it hard to see, so we’re going to get your hair cut,” and then asking them if they would like it cut in a particular way. If your child watches a lot of television, you might suggest some TV personalities with hairstyles they could imitate, or help them look at photos. Alternatively, you can just ask questions: “Do you want to have bangs? How long do you want your hair?” Ultimately the point of this is to make the haircut into something the child is looking forward to, by allowing them to make choices about it.

You should also set some behavioral expectations at this time: Try to keep your head still, move when the hairdresser asks, etc.

Step 3: Follow Through

When it’s time for the cut, briefly reiterate your expectations for your child’s behavior, and then help your child tell the stylist about the desired haircut. It’s important that you deliver on the promise of the cut your child chose or you will destroy the goodwill you have built by offering that choice in the first place. After a successful cut, be sure to praise your child for behaving well, and remind them to thank the stylist!

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