10 Ways to Get Kids to Sit Still for a Haircut

Do you see all of these kids, boys and girls, running around with really long hair?  I don’t think it’s because their parents love long hair. I think it’s because they can’t get their kid to sit still long enough to get a good haircut.  It always seems that if a need arises that someone will be smart enough to figure out a solution.  Check out ten ways to get kids to sit still for a haircut:

  1. Sit in a toy fire engine: Many of these salons set up to cater to little kids come complete with adjustable styling chairs that look like fire engines and race cars that kids can sit in and ring the bell while they are getting their hair cut. That makes it easy to keep them distracted long enough to get the scissors out.
  2. Video games: When the kids get older there are salon chairs that face a video game system where the child can play a video game while they are getting their haircut.  Don’t be surprised if they don’t want to leave when the haircut is over. A great idea for particularly fussy kids.
  3. Watch a movie: As long as they have chairs that face a television anyway, why not show a movie for those kids that are too big for the fire truck, but not old enough to really enjoy video games.  The child gets to pick their favorite video.  How fun is that?! Just make sure it is a short one, or they will want to watch till the end!
  4. Bribing: “If you sit still during your haircut you will get a sucker when you get done.”  Giving kids candy for good behavior is a tried and true technique and one that is not lost on the hairdressers of the world.  They would much rather promise your kid candy and wrap them in an animal print cape than have them bounce around during the haircut.
  5. Distract them: Read them a story and show them pictures while they are getting their hair cut.  The distraction should keep their mind off what is happening on their head.  Just be careful to keep it calm, you don’t want them to bounce around while the hairdresser is trying to work.
  6. Get an experienced stylist: If you get someone who cuts children’s hair on a regular basis, they are prepared for anything.  If the kid cries or gets upset they are fine letting you take them in the middle of the hair cut or they are fine continuing to cut the hair.  They don’t get rattled easily and they probably have a good rapport with kids or they wouldn’t be doing it.  They are also good at cutting the hair while the child is wiggling.
  7. Practice: Kids often get nervous when they don’t know what to expect with a new experience.  You can fix this by talking about taking them to get their hair cut and explaining what is going to happen. You can actually do a pretend haircut where you put them up on a pillow on a high chair and wrap a towel around them.  Then comb their hair and part it and pull and tug on it a little while making cutting sounds.  Then on the day of the big hair cut it will be old hat.  Let’s hope you won’t need a hat when it’s over.
  8. Feed them first: It’s hard to sit still for something that you’re really not that interested in if you are hungry and thirsty.  Make sure that you take them to lunch or feed them a good breakfast before you take them in for the haircut. But also make sure they go potty before they get in the chair!
  9. Talk it up: Tell them that only big boys/girls get haircuts and that you are so proud of them for being old enough to get their hair cut.  Tell them how great it’s going to look and that you can’t wait to take their picture and send it to their grandma or some other special person in their life.  Maybe they can even call that person and tell them all about the experience.
  10. Have them sit in your lap: This will give your child a sense of security and most stylists would rather do this than have a screaming wiggling child.  The stylist will drape you and then sit the child on your lap and drape them with a smaller cape- usually in a fun print.  It might be a little awkward getting to some areas, but hopefully the child can turn on your lap so that the stylist can reach all areas.  If the child seems scared of the clippers or the scissors have the stylist show them to the child so that they can see that there is nothing to be scared of.

Getting a haircut is something that everyone will have to go through eventually, so make it a positive experience for your child. Your kids can pick up on your anxiety, so relax and make sure you know it is not a big deal.

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