How can I keep my toddler still during a haircut? Behavior & Discipline

iStock.com/SbytovaMN


iStock.com/SbytovaMN

It can feel downright impossible to encourage toddlers to stay still while a stylist tackles their locks. But you've got this! Try these tricks for keeping your child still during a snip.

Go to a Kids' Salon

"Luckily for us, there are salons that specialize in haircuts for little ones. It can be challenging for toddlers to sit still long enough for a haircut, and these salons have fun chairs for children to sit and play in and other ways to engage your child." -- Lisa Liu, MD, physician at Loyola Center for Health at Gottlieb, assistant professor of family medicine at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Melrose Park, Illinois

expert solution

Play Haircut at Home First

"There are several things you can do to get your child ready for a haircut. One of my favorites is playing haircut at home with pretend scissors. This play activity can help alleviate the fear factor surrounding haircuts. You may want to bring your child along to watch mom, dad, or a sibling get a haircut to show them it is not harmful and can be enjoyable! Another thing you can do is promise some small reward for staying still. Lastly, you may want to consider going to a place that is...

"There are several things you can do to get your child ready for a haircut. One of my favorites is playing haircut at home with pretend scissors. This play activity can help alleviate the fear factor surrounding haircuts. You may want to bring your child along to watch mom, dad, or a sibling get a haircut to show them it is not harmful and can be enjoyable! Another thing you can do is promise some small reward for staying still. Lastly, you may want to consider going to a place that is child-friendly with treats, televisions, or other pleasant distractions." -- Maria Lombardi, DO, pediatrician at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network in Valhalla, New York 

expert solution

Get in the Chair with Them

"You can have your toddler sit on your lap during a haircut to help them feel more secure. This will keep them still. Make sure to wear a cape as well so you're not covered in hair!" 

expert solution

Give Them Toys or a Treat

"I highly recommend giving your child toys to keep their hands busy or even letting them sit on your lap so that you can console them if they're upset. And if you're okay with this sort of thing, I have found a lollipop is very soothing!"

expert solution

Don't Call It a 'Cut'

"Don't call it a 'haircut'! I've found that the word cut scares them. I always say to kids, 'I'm going to trim your hair.' You can bring a little paper cup to put on their ear if they are scared of the trimmers. And go to someone who is fast!"

expert solution

Forego the Clippers

"When my son was little, the noise from the electric clippers freaked him out, so I always asked the barber to skip the clippers and just use scissors."

expert solution

Lift Screen-Time Rules

"I totally bring the iPad and let my kid watch videos or play games the whole time. This is not a time to stick to strict screen-time rules. It's what works!"

expert solution

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.