Hair Care and Haircut Tips for Children

Children who are used to being groomed are less likely to be frightened by it in the future.

Cherylyn Feierabend
6-minute read
Episode #64

Some babies are born with full heads of hair. Others are born with just a smidge of peach fuzz. You can’t help but wonder what their hair will actually look like once it grows in. If you have a little girl, you might envision her hair in pigtails with pink ribbons. Your boy’s future hair could be a cute mop of curls, a spiky modern look, or something more clean-cut like his dad. Once your child’s hair starts really coming in, that’s when you really learn what’s going to work for you and, more importantly, for your child.

The first tip I have to offer is to start early. Even when your baby doesn’t have any hair yet, comb or brush his hair daily. Of course, you’ll be using one of those soft-bristled baby brushes that don’t seem to do much of anything, but you’ll be accomplishing more than you think. Unless your baby has very thick hair, you shouldn’t experience tangles on an infant's head, but by brushing your child’s hair frequently, you will help him become accustomed to the activity. Hair care should be part of baby’s daily routine, just like brushing his teeth, taking his naps, and listening to Mommy read bedtime stories. Children who are used to being groomed are less likely to be frightened by it in the future.

If you do have a child with long hair or at least hair long enough to cause a good bit of tangles, your best friend is going to be a bottle of detangling spray. My daughter’s hair grows fast and even though we keep it above shoulder length now, she still has plenty of tangles, especially after a bath. Detangling spray can be put on wet or dry hair and helps the comb run through the tangles much easier. If you find that you are still having a lot of trouble, you may want to consider using a conditioner on your child’s hair after washing with shampoo. Most children’s shampoos are 2-in-1 nowadays, meaning shampoo and conditioner are both in the wash, but a separate conditioning afterward can loosen up the tangles even more. When combing out long hair, I find that starting at the ends is the gentlest way to begin. Hold the hair in your hand as close to the scalp as you can without pulling away from the scalp and comb through the ends. When you hold the hair in your hand, you are preventing the comb from pulling the hair when you do hit a tangle. The less pain your child experiences during the grooming process, the more he’s going to be willing to cooperate.

So, you’ve combed and brushed your child’s hair. Maybe your daughter has even let you put a few barrettes or headbands on her. My daughter loves to be adorned with hair clips and bows, but she didn’t always feel that way. While she didn’t fight with me about doing her hair, she wasn’t that excited about me spending too much time on it. She’d lose her patience and start fidgeting. Then a friend of mine told me how her daughter loved to have her hair done. She simply told her daughter that she was going to do her hair up like a princess. What little girl doesn’t want to be a princess? Well, mine didn’t. She did, however, want to be a puppy. So, we don’t put pigtails in my daughter’s hair, we put puppy ears. She’s older now and prefers the princess thing, but every once in a while she still asks for puppy ears. It’s fine with me as long as she’s letting me get her hair out of her face.

Now, when it comes to haircuts, unless you are a pro at doing them yourself, you’ll probably want to take your child to a hair salon. If your child is fairly laid back about the process, you can pretty much take him to any hair salon you trust. The stylists should know how to cut a child’s hair just as well as an adult’s. If you aren’t sure how your child will behave, or if there’s a possibility he’ll throw a fit, you may want to pay a couple of extra dollars and take him to one of the more child-friendly haircutters out there. Cool Cuts 4 Kids, Lollilocks, Cookie Cutters, and Snip-Its are just a few of the hair salons for kids that are out there. I’ll have links in the transcript so you can see if one of these salons is near you.

When planning the trip to the haircutter, make sure that you talk about it with your child. Talk about it with a happy tone in your voice as if you are going somewhere that he loves. Don’t be overly excited about it unless he’s already been there and loved it. You don’t want to set expectations too high, but you do want to be positive about it. If possible, make an appointment during a time of day when your child is routinely well-rested and good-natured. Taking a crabby, hungry, or tired child to get a haircut is just asking for trouble. If you are going to a salon that only accepts walk-ins, call ahead and find out what times they are the least busy and then plan accordingly. Your child might be in a great mood at ten o’clock when you sign up for a haircut, but might not be as cooperative at ten-thirty when his name is finally called. Once your child is in the chair and being prepped for his cut, he might start freaking out a little bit. This is normal. I’d freak out too if someone I didn’t know was coming at my head with a pair of sharp scissors and I didn’t know why. Make sure you stay with your child and keep a smile and positive demeanor about yourself. Talk to him in a calm and reassuring tone and, if possible, help the stylist by keeping your child still while he’s trying to whip his head around to see what she’s doing. The more he wiggles, the longer it’s going to take, so keeping him still will really help move things along.

[[AdMiddle]I’ve been blessed with two children who think getting their hair cut at a salon is a big treat. They ask me when they get to go next and argue about who gets to go first. I have, however, seen first-hand how much some children do not enjoy the process. Even my son, who loves it, loses his patience if our stylist takes too long. I’ve seen parents handle children in different ways when they are losing control of them during a haircut. I’ve seen one mom blow bubbles in an attempt to cheer up her crying child and I’ve seen other moms give their kid a snack to distract them. I’ve personally sung to my son to calm him down as well as taking a place in the styling chair and holding him in my lap. You may not have a perfect experience every time, but hopefully, you’ll be able to get the job done quickly and without too much frustration. Remember, hair grows back, so don’t sweat it too much if a bad episode leaves your baby with a slightly crooked hairline. Oh, and one more quick tip from personal experience – don’t give your child a lollipop during a haircut. Falling hair will stick to it and it’s really gross. Wait until after the haircut is completely done and you’ll have much less of a mess.

That’s it for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed the show. Thank you for listening.

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About the Author

Cherylyn Feierabend