8 Tips for Your Child’s First Haircut at a Salon

8 Tips for Your Child's First Haircut at a SalonMy toddler’s head was covered with wavy locks, so that for the longest time we got away without cutting his hair at all. His hair would simply curl in neat waves across his head, and any that would fall over his eyes could easily be brushed to the side. Even when his hair grew longer, we snipped the hair off ourselves, figuring that any uneven cuts could be disguised with his wild, curly hair.

After a while though, his hair continued to grow, so much so that even our at-home haircuts were showing considerable unevenness (in all fairness, we’re the least-talented people with hair cutting). It was time to visit the salon.

As with any new experience, especially one that can feel invasive, we did our best to prepare him for his first salon haircut. Here are eight tips for your child’s first haircut:

1. Explain what he can expect.
We knew where and how the salon looked, so we described what he could expect when he walks in. We talked about the chairs, how the stylist will likely cover him with a cape and how they’ll snip his hair to keep it out of his face.

2. Pick a good time of the day.
With a kid that loves to eat, we made plenty sure that his tummy stayed full. We wanted to eliminate as many obstacles that might make him cranky.

3. Have mom or dad get a haircut at the same time.
My husband got a haircut simultaneously so that our toddler could go through the same experience and not feel completely alone.

4. Pick a salon with plenty of distractions.
With most young kids, anything new is a distraction, but it still helped to pick a salon where my toddler was able to see a ton of posters on the walls and was even able to swing some of the empty chairs around and around.

5. Plan to bathe the little one after.
Nothing worse than having snippets of hair hanging around the neck, face and ears, so to keep him comfortable, we went home right after and gave him a mid-day bath.

6. Ask for someone with experience with kids.
We lucked out because the lady who cut his hair was a natural around kids, in a not-so-contrived way. She seemed to have a knack with making my toddler feel comfortable and even mentioned that she cuts her toddler-nephew’s hair, giving her some tricks to ease the process.

7. Have him sit on your lap.
The little guy wanted nothing to do with the booster chair, but when we told him he could sit on my lap, he obliged. I wore my own cape, and he sat on me wearing his own cape. I ended up with some bits of hair on me, but sometimes that extra comfort is all that it takes.

8. Focus on a positive experience instead of a neat hair cut.
While the stylist could have busted out her clippers, we opted to save that for another time since they can potentially scare young kids. Even though my toddler had a clean haircut, she could have cleaned it up a bit more but we wanted to keep the experience a positive one, aka no scary buzzing!

After the kiddo was done with his haircut, he entertained himself swiveling around the empty chairs and waiting for his dad to finish his own cut. We praised him for having sat through his first haircut and spent the remainder of the day in a fun atmosphere.

What steps did you take to prepare your child for their first salon haircut?


Nina is a working mom to three boys—a five-year-old and toddler twins. She blogs about parenting at Sleeping Should Be Easy, where she writes everything she's learning about being mom and all its joys and challenges. She also covers topics like how kids learn and play, family life, being a working mom and life with twins. Download her free ebook, "Time Management Strategies for the Overwhelmed Mom" for more tips.


  1. Sara says

    For my son’s first haircut he was around 15 months. It was a disaster! We took him to a special hair salon for kids, that had tv’s/toys – the works. The stylist had overbooked though and my son ended up waiting for a 1/2 hour before it started. They did some cutting and then really freaked him out with those clippers. He looked so sweet after – but we had to endure so much crying! We haven’t taken him to a salon since (he’s now 2 1/2) – I have been cutting his hair on my own. We are getting to the point where I think we need to return – these tips will be very helpful!

    • says

      I was lucky that the stylist even brought up the clippers and whether we should use them or not. If she hadn’t I would’ve gone along with it too. Hopefully this time they’ll keep the clippers away from your little one!

  2. says

    There were action figures at the barber shop where we went that he loved playing with. At 22 he recently returned to that one particular place to get his hair cut and we talked about the toys when he got back. Sweet memory!

  3. says

    We did pretty much all of those things. We had Daddy get a haircut first and we talked about what the stylist was doing. Eli then sat on Daddy’s lap… he was a very good boy!

  4. says

    This is great–we’re going to take Baguette to the salon for the first time next month. We’ve been able to get away with home bang trims until now, but it’s clear that we need some professional help at this point!

  5. says

    Sounds like it was a big success, congratulations. I am not looking forward to taking Livi. She can’t sit still, has so much stranger anxiety, and doesn’t even like us cutting her hair (or brushing it). Thankfully, her hair is also somewhat curly so for now we only worry about it not falling into her eyes.
    But I will keep your tips handy for when the time comes and we have to get a haircut.

  6. Teresa Cleveland Wendel says

    The first salon haircut is such a BIG event. My grandsons all felt like big guys.

  7. says

    I’ve been dreading the first haircut, so much so that at 29 months, Charlotte has yet to have her locks trimmed. I dont think we can delay it much longer… glad to have these tips in my back pocket for the inevitable trip to the hair salon!

  8. says

    My little man’s hair has been cut by me a few times now and he’s taken on a decidedly Andy Warhol look!! It’s very nearly time but I was worried he’d flip out. These tips give me confidence!! Styley hair, here we come!!!

  9. says

    Great advice. I particularly like the idea of having a parent get a haircut at the same time, and letting the child sit on a parent’s lap during the haircut. I love the tips!