Quick & Dirty Toddler Home Hair Cutting Tips

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Simple Hair Cut Set Up – dietitianmom.com

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’!

Hair Update: Did Shaving Work?

Some might be puzzBaby's Earled by this post title, but for those in Asian cultures wondering whether they should shave their baby’s head of hair in the first month of life, it’s a legitimate and often important question. It was for me. In early parenthood, I had posted an entry on this (see post To Shave or Not to Shave? That is the Question…) because it was a real dilemma at the time. Neither my husband nor I sport a thick head of hair, so we didn’t want our child to be the same. Not to mention there were all these anecdotal reports of the benefits of hair shaving at the one month mark (and some negative reports of course). In the end we decided to do it, even though it was difficult to say goodbye to that first head of hair.

Now 21 months later, what’s the result? I’ll like to say it made a huge difference in our daughter’s hair quantity and quality, but unfortunately I can’t. Honestly, my husband and I can’t see any difference. Our toddler still has a good amount of hair on her head, though the hair remains rather fine and thin—just like us. Like us, she is also starting to shed a fair amount of hair. Unfortunately, it seems that hair is still more or less determined genetically. I’ve also talked to friends who have shaved off their babies’ hair at one month of age, and all so far agree it didn’t make much of a difference. The conclusion I’ve come to is that if a parent really desires to see a difference, a baby may need to undergo multiple hair shavings that first year of life. Indeed, thinking back, the people that seemed to report this method really worked all had shaved their children’s hair at least 2-3 times that first year. So should you try this? I think only if you are really ready to try this method multiple times! Otherwise it might not be worth the effort and anguish of seeing those lovely first locks of hair go. Hope this update helps you in your decision making process!

To Shave or Not to Shave? That is the question…

For those who have babies approaching the one month mark, this may be a question on your minds, “Should I shave my baby’s head?” This may seem like a strange question to some, but in some Asian circles like in Chinese cultures this is often a question that needs answering. There is this traditional practice, sometimes recommended by the older generation, of cutting or shaving off the first hair that a baby has when the baby turns one month old. It is believed that doing so would encourage the baby’s hair to grow out again much quicker and thicker, resulting in a thicker mop of hair later on in life. In western cultures though, shaving off a baby’s first head of hair is just not common practice.

I asked many of those around me, and got lots of different opinions and advice from others’ experiences. One friend (who had worked as a hairdresser) said I absolutely shouldn’t do it! She had tried this on her first daughter and as the baby slept on her back for most of the first few months, a ‘bald’ spot developed in the back of the head because the hair was unable to grow back as quickly there compared to the rest of the head. Apparently it took 3 years before the hair grew back completely (the mom ended up letting the baby’s hair above grow out to cover that spot since she was a girl). Others have said it was because they had shaved their babies’ hair multiple times when young that their children now have so much hair.

Well, here are my two cent’s worth to this debate. When my little one turned one month old, I decided to take the plunge. I took her to a baby hair salon (there are quite a few in Singapore!) to have her head completely shaved. She had been born with a fair amount of fine hair but it was in patchy spots on the top of her head, so I figured, even if her hair didn’t grow back much thicker, at least it might grow back more evenly (and at least I can tell my daughter I had tried this method to improve her chances of having a lusher head of hair)! She really looked quite funny for a few months—like a boy—and it took about 5 or 6 more months before her hair grew out completely all around, especially that ‘bald-like’ spot on the back of her head. In the end, I’m not sure if this really helped to give her a thicker mop of hair, but everyone who sees her definitely comment on how much hair she has!

How to Cut Baby’s Hair

Today I cut my 8 month old baby’s hair. Up until now, I was terrified of actually doing it, because I had tried to trim her sides when she was 4 months old, and it looked horrible (everyone noticed). And there didn’t seem to be any really good videos on YouTube on how to cut a baby girl’s hair at home–most of the ones I saw were for cutting a boy’s hair. Perhaps, as a friend suggested,” Baby girls don’t usually have their hair cut as much…” That may be true. But what finally gave me confidence was when I came across this website post and the subsequent recommended WikiHow article and video:

http://www.diylife.com/2008/01/17/stylin-tips-for-babys-first-haircut/

http://www.wikihow.com/Cut-Kids%27-Hair

I highly recommend the video on the wikihow website! Even though the video is on how to cut a child’s (boy) hair, it gives clear basic guidelines on how to cut hair in general, from which you can then adapt to your baby girl’s hair. Anyway, at the beginning, your baby girl’s hair is still quite short, and won’t need more than a trim at first.

Thankfully, my little one was an angel during the whole 10-15 minutes of cutting. I just kept her entertained with lots of different toys (relatively new and unfamiliar ones to her), each time one fell to the ground. I think though, that this was such a new experience for her that she didn’t really know what was happening. As she gets older and more aware, haircut sessions might get more challenging! And even though the haircut was a little bit on the short side and it made her look more boyish, at least she looks much neater and fresher now. All the best cutting your little one’s hair!