Although many moms think that a child’s first haircut will be a momentous event warranting pictures and a baggie to hold the first lock to fall, most babies experience some anxiety during their first time under the plastic cape.
Kim Tull of Wilmington, Delaware, was excited the first time she took her daughter, Katherina, to get her hair cut at a kids’ salon. “This place had carousel horses the kids could sit on when they were getting their hair cut and I told Katherina all about it ahead of time so she’d be excited,” Kim recalls. “Well, of course when we got there, she didn’t get to sit on a horse because they were all taken so I spent $15 just to get her bangs trimmed and we walked away with a crushed lollipop and a terrible Polaroid picture of her crying.” Now Kim cuts Katherina’s hair herself.
It’s no wonder babies get anxious: someone—and usually someone they don’t know—is coming at them with a pair of scissors! Your presence alone will help her feel safe, and a little preparation can go a long way in easing her fears.
What you can do
- Play beauty salon (or barbershop) at home. Make it fun.
- Pretend to cut the hair of stuffed animals or dolls.
- Show her that cutting hair doesn’t hurt by taking her with you when you get your hair cut. Let her sit on your lap and tell her what’s happening every step of the way (first the stylist wets your hair, then she combs it, then she cuts it).
- Let her sit on your lap when she gets her hair cut rather than expecting her to sit on the big chair all alone. Sing or talk to her quietly.
- Bring a stuffed animal or favorite toy to help ease the tension.
Parenthood is full of firsts, making it an exciting and rewarding journey. Don’t be afraid if you feel a little uneasy the first time your baby experiences a milestone. Preparing yourself in advance and talking about your concerns with other moms goes a long way in calming your jitters.