Salon visits can be scary experiences for small children: They are boring, full of strangers and strange smelling products, you are being ordered to sit still for ages, whilst some idiot is doing terrible things to your hair which you didn't want to happen in the first place. Life is sooo unfair!
So how do you as a parent, avoid, annoying the stylist, upsetting your child and getting yourself stressed? Well this is where your best child psychology skills come into play! Sometimes your child will have unwarranted fears and you have to help to overcome them. Creating trust by taking their concerns seriously is the first and most important step. Promising a treat can also help. Best of all is to check in your local area to see if there is one of the growing number of new specialized children's salons available. Salon chains like Cartoon Cuts are designed to make the hair cut experience more positive and entertaining for small children: toys, video games, specially shaped chairs and specially-trained stylists, all help to ensue the experience is more like going to a theme park rather than a visit to the doctor.
Home Sweet Home
However, if your child is afraid of the hairdresser's, then try to cut their hair at home. They will feel safe and comfortable and you will save time and money. You can do it yourself if you have the skills - or the bravery. Cutting hair for a child is basically the same for an adult, except that a child's hair is usually thin and baby soft. Keep the bangs approx. 1/2" from the eyebrows. If the child's hair is thin, avoid short cuts for now until their hair comes in thicker. Shape around the face if you're trying to grow it long. If you don't have any haircutting experience, you might want to seek out a step by step guide on children's hair cutting, or get someone to do it for you.
Putting on the Style
Whatever you do, remember that today's media-savvy, celebrity-crazy kids want to look good. Children start to take an interest in their own hair style from an early age; even the kindergarten set want to be in-style. They want their hair to be like their best friend or even a television character. Boys that used to be seen only in ball caps are now having their hair bleached and highlighted.
Finding the right hair style for a child is usually about finding a cool, fun, and easy-to-manage child hair style that suits your youngster's active lifestyle. But you may experience resistance - as children get older they start to have very definite opinions of how they want to wear their hair. This hairstyle preference will surface in early childhood and continue throughout the teen years and into adulthood. Many a growing child will argue with their parents over how they want to wear their hair to school. At this stage of development the hair becomes a major identity factor.
Hair Care 101
The key is to be encouraging; as children start to take an interest in their own hair and how they style it, this is the time to encourage them to follow an entire regime of good hair hygiene practices. It is important to show a child (when they are willing), how to properly shampoo and rinse their own hair. You can also teach them about towel blotting, detangling, combing and brushing their hair. Help them build a good hair hygiene schedule so that they learn the importance of keeping their hair clean and neat. Try also to get them to develop good eating habits because healthy hair is very dependent on high quality carbohydrates and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Good nutrition will promote shine and condition at any age.
Tips for Tip-Top Hair
Washing - use a mild shampoo, preferably in the child's favorite color or scent. Sometimes children are more willing to wash their hair with a fun shampoo, especially if it doesn't sting their eyes.
Combing/brushing - try to create trust and reassurance by allowing them to comb and brush their own hair on their own terms. Do not brush your child's hair 100 strokes before bedtime in the traditional manner - this will over stimulate the sebaceous glands and make the hair greasy and heavy. Doing a quick brush to get the tangles out should be sufficient. Combing the hair will promote shine and condition. Remember to use a comb on wet hair rather than a brush or you risk creating static electricity, which leads to breakage.
Accessories - give your child high quality combs and brushes and teach them the proper way to care for their hair to instill good grooming habits that will last a lifetime. Purchase some "hair friendly" clips and hair ties to help a child keep their hair off their face, and reduce the chance of tangling or matting. Stay away from any hairclips with sharp teeth, because they can cut into the hair and cause potential hair damage.
Tangles - all parents know that dealing with tangles is a nightmare for both parent and child. Here's how to reduce the trauma of removing tangles:
1. Hold the section of hair you're trying to comb out.
2. Hold it taut so the child won't feel you ripping through the ends. 3. Spray a good leave-in detangler on the knot.
4. You can also comb conditioner in while the child's hair is still wet. Children need conditioner too (avoid heavy types and stick with conditioners that are specifically called "light" conditioners).
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