During the pandemic many people learned the hard way that giving yourself or your loved ones a haircut with no experience is a very, very bad idea. That goes double if you’re looking to give a toddler a haircut.
Especially for a first cut many parents think it’s no big deal to cut a child’s hair, but it actually takes just as much skill – if not more – than cutting adult hair as it requires distracting the little one. I learned this the hard way and, luckily, Cozy’s Cuts For Kids helped to literally clean up the mess.
Cozy’s is a cult salon in New York City that is best known for their “first cuts” and more generally for the millions of baby and toddler hair cuts they’ve done over the last three decades. Little known fact, however, is that they do adult cuts too, which is wonderful for not only setting an example for a child, but for saving time. Plus, the salon doubles as a shop of carefully curated play things, many of which are lifesavers for travel (I recognized many personal favorites like Pop It toys).
But on to the tips!
I learned while there that the key to an optimized first cut is distractions. It’s obviously hard to compete with Cozy’s offerings – see above. Toddlers are placed in toy cars and have a screen with favorites like Cocomelon playing as they have a toy in hand, but one could easily imagine recreating some form of this at home. It’s also worth noting that after the experience is over, kids get a certificate to commemorate their first cut, complete with their first lock of hair attached. This is a great idea even for older kids.
Jumping back to the beginning, owner Cozy Friedman outlines a number of reason why kids are afraid of hair cuts and bearing these in mind can help make the experience smoother.
They are uneasy being in a new location.
Leading up to the visit it could be helpful to start talking about it, showing them pictures or even going in for a “pop-in” before the day of your actual appointment.
They don’t know the stylist.
Here Friedman says, similar to the above, help your child familiarize themselves with the stylist. “Then you can speak about the stylist by name in your home to familiarize them with the name. Depending on your child’s age, you can even play ‘home salon’ and make believe you are that stylist.”
New noises and sensations.
Your child may have never heard scissors clipping or felt the spritz of water before, at Cozy’s they’ll do things like say “here comes to the rain!” To make these new things fun.
Children are confused because they are told scissors are dangerous.
And now a stranger is holding them close to their head! “Try to avoid using the phrase ‘cut your hair’ and replace the word cut with trim or style. Obviously, this strategy depends on the age of your child but in my opinion the best game plan (at the risk of being repetitive) continues to be DISTRACTION, DISTRACTION, DISTRACTION. I think it’s the secret to parenting in general!” says Friedman.