cut my toddler's hair

When Should I Cut My Toddler’s Hair?

Many parents have questions about when and how to cut their toddler’s hair. Many factors go into this decision, but the most important thing is to make sure your child feels comfortable with what you plan on doing.

Many parents see their child’s hair as the Holy Grail. This means not just anyone can touch it! 

However, there comes a time when your baby needs to take a step into the toddler world and get a “grown-up” haircut.

You may be dreading that day or looking forward to it. Whatever your situation, we’re here to guide you through it. 

Baby’s first haircut needs a little preparation, so we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

When Should Your Baby Have Their First Haircut? 

There is no right or wrong time. Some babies have lots of hair that grows at an insane rate. They might be ready for a cut as early as eight months or even sooner.

As parents, we’re sometimes eager for babies to hit the next milestone, and firsts can be exciting (first time crawling, walking, eating “real” food, etc.).

But haircuts are a first you don’t have to rush, as most babies will lose some or most of their baby hair anyway in their first few months of life. 

This is due to a mix of post-birth hormones that cause your thick haired-baby to go bald.

Don’t fret, their hair will grow back, but it also means you don’t have to rush to cut your baby’s hair in their first few months of life, even up to age 1 for most kids.

Yet, there are exceptions, such as a baby with hair that’s blocking their eyesight, as well as haircuts done for medical conditions or religious and cultural traditions.

Or sometimes babies have such long curly hair that it becomes tangled and hard to manage without a cut.

These are all situations in which a haircut before age one might be the right choice. However, for most parents, holding off will be fine.

Other kids may not be ready until they are well into their toddler years. And that’s fine. it’sIt’s one thing less to think about for Mom!

It comes down to the parent’s preference as well. Some parents prefer “baby locks,” while others like a more trimmed look.

Just keep in mind that it most likely won’t grow out the same once the baby hair is gone.

After the first cut, fine hair could grow thicker. And those cute baby curls you just had cut off may not grow back.

Shaving or trimming hair doesn’t make it grow back faster or thicker, despite some popular myths. 

Some cultures and religions have strict traditions surrounding the first haircut, so consult your religious or cultural leader if you are unsure of how to proceed within your culture or faith.

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Know When to Go

If your baby entered the world with luscious locks, she could be ready for a haircut as early as eight months. But if she was bald, she may not need one until she’s 2. 

There’s no right or wrong time to go. It comes down to this: Do you want to preserve her baby look, or do you think she’s ready for a big-kid ‘do? 

Keep in mind that once you cut off those curls, they may not grow back. On the other hand, trimming superfine baby hair often makes it look thicker.

portrait of toddler child getting his first haircut

Make Sure Your Child Is Ready

Your baby or toddler most likely won’t like a surprise cut.

Think about what goes into a haircut. Your little one has to sit still in a chair, wear a plastic cape, and have a stranger touching their hair. I recall feeling terrified, let alone my needy toddler!

Try to prepare your child as much as possible. With a toddler, talk with them about it and explain how and why we get our hair cut. An even better idea would be to bring your child to watch you get a haircut — be a role model!

You might want to avoid using the word “cut.” Toddlers may get scared by the meaning of it. Instead, you can use the words “snip” or “trim.”

Plan and Prepare

Keeping your child distracted and entertained might make the first haircut a little easier. Bring along their favourite toy. Maybe even a colouring book would help.

Make sure your child is not hungry or tired. My little ones would be the worst case of “hangry” when they hadn’t eaten. And a tired child is more likely to throw a tantrum — that’s the last thing we need!

It’s best to plan a morning appointment. At this time of the day, your baby will be fresh from a whole night’s rest.

It’s also a good idea to bring another person along to help. Either both parents can go or take a friend, someone your child feels safe with.

Let your child bring a lovely and small toy. These will help him stay calm and keep his hands occupied. You might also hide a treat in your purse for afterwards. 

Before the barber begins, swing the chair away from the mirror, so your child doesn’t fixate on the scissors. 

If he refuses to wear a cape, put one on and show him how it looks. If he doesn’t sit still, you may need to plop him down on your lap for the duration. 

But make sure a friend (or someone else at the salon) is there to take pics.

Book your appointment between mealtime and naptime, so your child isn’t hungry or cranky. 

Call ahead to make sure the stylist is running on time. And don’t hesitate to reschedule if your child seems out of sorts that day. 

The first haircut sets the stage for years to come. It’s essential to make it a positive experience.

Give a Heads-Up

Toddlers don’t like surprises, so have your child watch you get a haircut or visit his barber before the big day. 

Talk to him about what he’s seeing—point out the cape he’ll be wearing and what the scissors do. 

Avoid using the word “cut,” which may scare your child—use “snip” or “trim” instead. Let him play with a squirt bottle in the tub at home and pretend to trim his bangs with your fingers. 

Keep the Mood Light

If you are feeling a bit worried, your child is sure to be handling your vibes. This can make them also feel scared and unsafe.

Stay positive! Get yourself and your child psyched for the haircut — keep talking to them, telling them how much fun it will be. And how nice they will look afterwards!

Find the Right Place

If you choose a salon for your baby’s first haircut, it is crucial to find the right one. This could make or break the experience and the future haircuts to come.

Make sure the salon is child-friendly. Your toddler may let out a scream or two, and you don’t want any judgmental looks. Maybe talk to other moms in your area to find out which place is best.

Many child-friendly salons will have first-cut packages that include before and after photos. Some might even do the haircut for free. Other salons will have books and videos to entertain your child.

Choose a salon that knows how to deal with squirmy clients. Many kids’ hair places have videos and books to keep little kids entertained. 

Some even do the first trim for free (others include a photo and certificate as part of a first-haircut package). 

If there isn’t a children’s barber in your town, ask your stylist to recommend someone who’s especially good with kids.

Get Psyched

If you’re apprehensive, your child will pick up on it and be more likely to cry during her haircut. 

Talk to her about how much fun it will be. Let her know how great she’ll look after getting a trim. When she sees that you’re looking forward to it, she will too.

How to Cut Baby Hair With Scissors?

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

Having everything prepared is essential to a successful baby haircut. As we all know, forgetting something upstairs is a big deal when you have a baby; most just aren’t going to await you finding something patiently.

Gather:

  • a towel
  • some cape or cloth covering
  • salon-style scissors (or those used to cut baby nails will also work well)
  • a comb
  • a spray bottle
  • a high chair or another seat that contains your baby
  • a small bag or envelope will also come in handy if you want to save a lock of hair for the baby book

You will also want your baby’s favourite toys to distract them, a pacifier, and maybe even a distracting video set up (you know the one — cue “Baby Shark”).

Now you’re ready to be as successful as possible for the baby’s first haircut.

Step 2: Choose a Time of Day When Baby Is Happy

This is not the time to fit one more thing in before nap time or to do a “quick haircut” before lunch.

Your baby should be fed, changed, well-rested, and ready to do something fun. This will minimise movement due to crying and fussiness from other causes.

Step 3: Make it a Big, Fun Deal.

Babies respond to your social cues, so if you’re happy, they’re more likely to be satisfied. 

You can sing songs, explain what’s happening in a highly cheerful voice, and show the baby the fun tools (minus the scissors) by letting them hold them and explain what you’ll be doing.

For decades, baby hairdressers have been entertaining little ones with a second comb, as it makes a fun sound when you scratch it. 

Hand that to your baby, and you’ll get yourself a few minutes of uninterrupted focus. You can also give the baby their favourite special snack in their high chair while you cut their hair.

Step 4: Prepare for Their Reaction

Some babies are mesmerised by the new experience, whether it’s the sound of the scissors (or clippers) or watching you act hilarious trying to get them excited for this.

Others are downright terrified and flail and wail despite your best efforts. Be prepared to get either reaction and let go of any expectation that they’ll sit perfectly still as you do in a salon.

Even a content baby will move their head around trying to see what you’re doing, which can be a recipe for a snipped ear if you aren’t expecting it.

Step 5: Spray and Snip, Carefully

Five steps in, and we’re getting down to business!

  • Use your spray bottle to dampen the baby’s hair lightly.
  • Use your comb to brush up a small section of hair.
  • Hold the area away from their head, between two fingers.
  • Snip above this point, using your fingers as a buffer between their head and the scissors.
  • Drop the section you’ve cut and move on to the next area.
  • Minor, slightly angled cuts are more accessible to blend than long, straight cuts.

This can take some practice, so don’t expect it to seem as fast and easy as your hairdresser does it. 

Consider that hair will seem longer when wet, so be conservative with how much you’re snipping off the first time (start small since you can always cut more later but can’t put any back).

Continue over the baby’s head in a line, either from front to back or back to front, so you aren’t missing sections.

Trim around the ears and neckline, protecting the baby’s ear with your hand as much as possible.

Don’t worry about comparing sections of hair to each other with every cut; just trim a similar amount off each time, using the comb and your fingers to judge.

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Step 6: Save a Lock of Hair

If you’re the sentimental type, snag a few pieces of trimmed hair and put them in your small bag or envelope. 

It can be helpful to do this first before you use the spray bottle. That way, you won’t have damp hair sitting in your baby book or box for who knows how long.

Don’t feel pressured to save a piece of hair if this isn’t your style or seems strange to you. Most hairdressers will offer this to you during your child’s first haircut, especially at children’s salons.

cut my toddler's hair (3)

How to Cut Baby Hair With Clippers?

Follow the same process for steps 1 to 4 above if you plan on using clippers to cut your baby’s hair, but instead of step five, follow these directions:

Choose a high-level guard until you get a preview of how short the baby’s hair will look. While you or your partner may use a 1 or 2, a one on the baby may look more straightforward than you wanted. You can always take more off.

Pay attention to the lever on the guard that allows you to adjust the length of that number (basically, you could have a “short 2” or a “longer 2” when you have the two guard on the clippers).

Go over the baby’s head in both directions multiple times to ensure you’ve created an even haircut. If you’d like the top to be longer than the sides, use a higher guard on the top, then blend the transition hairline with a number between the two. 

Also, consider using a combination of scissors and clippers if you want a more extended look on the top.

Taking Baby to the Salon for Their First Hair Cut

If everything you’ve read above feels daunting or just plain not something you feel like dealing with, take your baby to a professional hairstylist who specialises in baby and children’s cuts. 

They’ll be very used to going through the above steps and often have a “baby’s first haircut” package that includes taking some locks home with you.

Feel free to be specific with what you want your baby’s hair to look like, or let them do what they please if you aren’t picky. 

If you aren’t satisfied with the final result, speak up and ask for a change.

Suppose your baby has never been in this environment. In that case, they may have some additional uncertainty and fear surrounding sitting on an extensive children’s seat, interacting with a stranger, and getting their first haircut.

If it doesn’t seem to be working that day, don’t force it, and ask the stylist to reschedule. 

On the other hand, don’t feel you need to remove your fussy baby right away, as these stylists are very used to dealing with children who aren’t too excited about a haircut.

If you find your baby is scared or stressed out, take a break, calm them down with a favourite toy, song, or snack, and try again in a little bit — or consider waiting a little longer for their first haircut.

The Final Cut

The first haircut is a milestone in your child’s life. Whether it happens at eight months or three years, it’s a moment to remember.

Choose a haircut that suits your fun-loving toddler’s personality. Don’t limit yourself to what everyone else is doing. Look around and take inspiration.

And whatever you do — don’t forget to keep a lock of that precious baby hair. You can put it in a scrapbook, a trinket box, or a locket. That’s a keepsake mom always treasure.

A little mom-to-mom advice? Start with small snips. Then you can cut more if you like.

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