I’ve started cutting my baby’s hair at 8 months of age, thanks to a very helpful e-How video clip (see Post How to Cut Baby’s Hair). Apart from the first time at 8 months when it was easy to distract her with a new toy on the high chair, it has always been quite a challenge keeping her still long enough to do the job and she didn’t seem to quite enjoy the experience. We have tried many different tactics including toys, food (not a good idea), a skype call, and videos with varying degrees of success. Now 6 tries later, I think I’ve finally perfected the technique with my 26 month old with minimal clean up afterwards. Hope these tips below will help you in your haircutting experience!
Tip #1: Timing
Pick a time right before a shower or bath, as you’ll need to wash off the stray hair bits anyway. It will also work well if the child has had a chance to observe another family member get a haircut. Our toddler was much more willing to get her hair cut after she saw daddy get his haircut. So don’t underestimate the power of modeling!
Tip #2: Set Up
Use a dry bathtub or shower stall to set up your makeshift salon station. This will make clean up later very easy with a dustpan and brush or to vacuum up the hair quickly.
Tip #3: Props
Apart from the obvious haircutting tools of a pair of scissors and a comb, you’ll need the following:
-a child sized plastic chair
-long sleeved art or food bib
-entertainment device (e.g., Ipad)
-soft brush (to brush off the hair from your child’s body before a shower)
Tip #4: Make It Fun
We ended up setting up the seat within the bathtub in such a way that we could prop the Ipad up in the middle hand rest bar in the tub (see photo). So in this way, it became a mini movie station and her attention could be focused on the video while I could have plenty of space to work on the hair on the back of her head (this usually takes the longest). This worked much better than when I was trying to stand within the tub as it could get really cramped and difficult to maneuver around trying to get at all sides of her head. Then get to work and try to finish the job quickly!
Tip #5: Have Help Available
The first time I tried this method, I found it worked quite well. However, I feel things would have gone much more smoothly and quickly if the video on the Ipad didn’t keep stalling and pausing. Hence if you can have some additional help nearby, that makes a difference! I found it invaluable to have a second pair of hands ready (i.e., daddy) to do the IT technical work of keeping the video going or distracting the toddler if needed.
Tip #6: Clean It Up
Brush off the hair as best as you can from the child’s body, then ask the child to stand briefly beside the bathtub, while you clean up the tub. Another option is to transfer the child to sit on the toilet seat, and tell the child to wait there while you remove the hair from the bathtub. Hand the child a toothbrush and ask him/her to brush their teeth while they wait! As mentioned, use a dustpan or vacuum cleaner to get most of the hair out of the tub. Then you can rinse out the tub with some water before proceeding with the shower. A third option is to move the child to another bathroom for the shower so that you will have time later to clean up the bathroom properly without needing to rush.
We have cut our child’s hair twice now using this method. The second time it went even more smoothly because she now knows what to expect. In fact, when I mention it’s time for a haircut, she immediately says ‘Ipad!’ and ‘chair’!