Whether a child grows up to enjoy or dread getting their hair cut can be largely determined on haircut #1. Of course what you do makes a big difference, but also what happens before their haircut can be an important help or insure failure.
The helpful parent:
1. Haircare. Use a “no-tears” baby shampoo that is low pH, acid-balanced. These mild shampoos have ascorbic acid (vitamin C) added to create the low pH necessary to avoid tangley split ends. The child should have their hair thoroughly brushed out so a comb can travel through the hair without running into any snarls. Getting tangles out of hair is painful–that’s not the way to start a haircut.
2. At home. If they have an electric shaver or clipper, have the child see the shaving process, and also hear and touch the shaver while running. Spend time grooming (combing brushing) so they’re used to their scalp being touched. They shouldn’t use the word “haircut”. Most children have already been conditioned to avoid anything that “cuts”–instead, use the word “trim”, e.g., we’ll go to Barber Bob’s place to get your hair trimmed.
3. Timing. The parent should arrange to have the child’s hair “trimmed” at their best time. For many it’s right after a nap, but they know when their child is cranky or irritable, and when they are in their most pleasant state. Another “timing issue” that can have an impact is to bring the child before they visit a doctor–a haircut is painless but if it happens after they have been poked with a needle, they’ll probably think they’re in for more of the same.
There is nothing like sealing a letter to inspire a fresh thought.