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Tips to Survive Your Kid's First Haircut

Published Oct 16, 2015 | Updated Feb 19, 2020

Your toddler's first haircut might seem like a cute milestone, but many parents can tell you that it's no walk in the park. Here are some suggestions to keep you from pulling your own hair out in the process.

I can't remember my first haircut, but my mother sure can! It was, by all accounts, a terribly unfun experience. There were tantrums, screams, objects thrown, and the worst of all...me peeing my pants in the salon chair. Once was clearly enough for her, and so I had bowl cuts to look forward to for the next 8 years. A lot like this (see left).

Yes, I shudder when I look through old family photos!  But I guess there's always worse...

Don't make your child suffer through bad home-cuts.  Here are some tips that I've gathered from friends, family, and stylists to avoid having a "hairable"  experience.

1.  Time the cut right.  It should be after a meal and a nap, and not too late in the day. 

2.  Bring them to a "fun" salon, just for kids.  These salons have cartoons playing, cute decor, nice kid-friendly staff, and treats.  The one my sister goes to even has race car seats!  

3.  Talk it up.  Before my friend took her daughter for a haircut, she made a big deal about how special it was, and how only "big girls" got their hair cut. Needless to say, Avery was very proud of going to the salon, and saw the whole experience as a great honor instead of a chore.  

4.  Let your child have some creative input.  Look through some kids' hairstyle blogs or magazines--Pinterest is also great for this.  Ask your child which ones they like, and decide on a suitable style together.  You'll be surprised how even young kiddos can have strong opinions about their style.  If you get them excited about their new look, they'll be way more cooperative.

5.  Get there early.  Arrive to the salon 15-20 minutes before your appointment so your kid can  get a feel for the place, and get used to their stylist.  You don't want your child to feel like a stranger is cutting their hair!

6.  Bring along a favorite toy, or security blanket.  Anything to make them feel comfortable, relaxed, and at home in the salon.

7.  Bring along a favorite picture book and read to them.  They might get so enthralled by the story that they wont even notice the hair cut.  

8.  Make sure they feel comfortable in their seat.  Big chairs can be a bit intimidating for some kids, so have them sit in your lap or a car seat.   

9.  Avoid hair products.  I have yet to meet a kid who likes having product in their hair.  It smells funny, feels heavy, and is very unappealing to most young children.    

10.  Ditch the cape.  Being covered in cold plastic isn't fun for most kids.  My sister finds the easiest thing is to bring an extra shirt for her girls to change in to after the cut.

11.  Get a dry cut.  The hair washing/blow-drying often bothers kids the most.  You can save yourself an incredible amount of agony by just having the stylist cut your kid's hair dry.  

12.  Have a reward at the end of it.  A gift or candy for being good will make them remember the experience in a positive light, and they might even be eager for the next haircut. 

13.  Up the wow factor.  If you have a girl, bring along a pretty hair accessory to add after the cut.  If you have a boy, you can ask the stylist to add a streak of colored paint (there are some that even glow in the dark!).  These little touches will make the hairstyle seem all the more special and exciting.  


Lena Utankanova
By Lena Utankanova
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