Many children find it difficult to tolerate haircuts. From the auditory input (clippers, hairdryers), to visual input (large mirrors and styling tools), to tactile input (light touch of scissors, water dripping or trimmed pieces of hair) to the smells of a salon, this environment is primed for over-stimulation. Here are some tips to help with the next time your child gets a haircut.
- Try to schedule appointments when the salon is the least busy.
- Bring an extra large tee shirt or soft flannel shirt from home to use instead of the stylist’s cape.
- Always plan on going straight home after a haircut so your child can wash off any stray hair clippings.
- Barber shops are often less overwhelming from a sensory standpoint, as opposed to a salon.
- Give your child a scalp massage prior to a haircut to help desensitize the scalp.
- Make a picture schedule of what to expect. Talk about the steps in positive terms (“Sometimes clippers are loud, but we’ll be OK.”).
- Ask the stylist if they would be willing to give your child breaks. Count back from 10 (sloooowly), then give a break (read a short book or let your child play for a few minutes on a handheld game). Use a timer if needed. Repeat until finished.