Think about the situation from your toddler’s perspective: You’re asking him to stay still while a stranger approaches his head with scissors! No wonder he’s a little freaked out. So try to lessen his fears by thoroughly explaining (and role-playing) the haircutting experience far in advance of the haircut. If he knows what to expect, he’s less likely to squirm and scream in the salon.
If you can, select a stylist or salon that caters to young kids. “Some locations even offer special seats, such as race cars or plastic ponies, for children to sit on,” says Elizabeth Pantley, author of The No-Cry Discipline Solution. If a special seat isn’t available, ask if the stylist can make the chair go up and down (with your kid in it) before he starts the haircut; some kids are so charmed by the chair that they forget to worry about the actual cutting.
Remember that toddlers have a limited ability to sit still, so keep things short and sweet; you want a stylist who works efficiently, not one who worries about achieving a perfect ’do. And bring along something to keep your child busy. A small manipulative toy that your child can hold during the appointment is a good option, Pantley says.
If you’re cutting your child’s hair at home, “plant your child in front of his favorite movie while you cut his hair,” Pantley says. Don’t worry about screen time; while it’s generally best not to use the TV as an electronic babysitter, it’s perfectly okay to make exceptions for a haircut!