The First Haircut
As an adult, a haircut and nail care is called a “trip to the salon” and we fork over a pretty penny for the privilege. So why is your toddler freaking the eff out when anybody comes within a two-foot radius with a pair of scissors or clippers? It’s a world of new experiences and can be overwhelming for a little person: the plastic cape, the sharp-looking instruments, the unfamiliar environment. (It doesn’t help that they couldn’t care less if their hair is shaggy or their nails look like talons.) They’ll appreciate it someday, but for now, you’ve got to find ways to take the trauma out of grooming.
When it comes to haircuts, find somebody experienced in handling a squirming, ambivalent toddler. Ask your friends, ask your neighbors, ask your Facebook. Better yet, find one of those child-specific barbershops with the multiple distractions, like individual TVs. The more practiced your kid’s stylist is, the more quickly things will go. Another way to ensure a no-fuss cut? Make sure your toddler is fed and rested (read: don’t try to squeeze in a haircut during normal naptime hours). Take along a comforting item, like a favorite stuffed animal, or read his favorite book aloud while the stylist does the job. If you’re more of a DIY-er and want to cut your toddler’s hair at home, take advantage of the more relaxed environment. If your little one is more comfy getting her hair cut in her undies, then let her!
Clipping your toddler’s nails can be a battle too. To alleviate fears, let her watch you clip your own nails. Allow her to hold the clippers. The word “cut” or “clip” can sound threatening, so call it a “trim.” Do it while she’s distracted (screen time can be your best friend). And if all else fails, do it while she’s asleep, and she’ll be none the wiser.
Scary Mommy Tip: If a haircut is being done with clippers, the buzzing sound can be scary. Let your toddler touch the clipper handle and feel the tickly vibrations first. And never restrain him if he’s frightened; better to let it wait until he calms down, even if it means waiting until another day, than to further traumatize him.