1. Describe what your child can expect
Talk about what your child will see when he walks in, and what people do at a salon. Explain how he’ll sit in a chair and wear a “cape” during the haircut. Describe how the stylist will spray water on his head to make it easier to cut, and that she’ll use scissors to cut his hair so won’t feel so heavy anymore.
You might even hop online and find pictures of the salon you plan to visit. Knowing what to expect will help ease his anxieties and reassure him once he arrives.
2. Pick a good time to go
You might be tempted to take your child when it’s conducive to your schedule, or even right when the salon opens to beat the crowd. But a successful experience is more likely if you go at his optimal time.
Usually this means he’s well-rested, so go after he’s had a good sleep or nap, not when he’s about to have one. You should also go after having a snack or a meal so he has one less thing to fuss about. You can even offer two snacks: one before the haircut, and one right after.
If you can, schedule an appointment so you don’t have to battle the crowds or wait too long. And if the salon doesn’t take appointments, another alternative is to go during a weekday, when it’s less busy.
3. Pick a salon with plenty of entertainment
One of the benefits of a children’s salon are the many forms of entertainment it offers. Kids can read books while they wait or watch a cartoon while they get their haircuts. Many also offer prizes at the end of their cut.
Even regular salons can offer entertainment for children to focus on as well. I’ve taken my eldest to a salon with tons of vintage posters and cool-looking swivel chairs that kept him curious and occupied.
And if your child is especially fussy and won’t sit still, now would be a good time to show him a cartoon on your phone. Hold the phone in front of him while the stylist snips his hair. This is especially useful if the salon doesn’t have their own television screens.