Are haircuts difficult for your child? Do you wish that there was something you could do to make the process easier for both yourself and your little one? Read along to learn how to make the experience less stressful for everyone.
If you’re dreading taking your child to the hair salon, you are not alone. Many children with autism experience difficulties when it’s time to get a haircut. There are many reasons for this: it could be the bright lights, the loud noise of hair dryers and clippers, being touched by a stranger, wearing a black cape, or even the smell that is usually present in a hair salon.
If you are planning to head to the hairdresser, it’s important to prepare your child. Below are some tips on how to help make haircuts less stressful for you and your child.
- Use distractions
- It may be beneficial to goto a hair salon that has TVs for your child to watch during the haircut. If this is not an option, allow your child to play on a phone or tablet or bring along their favorite toys and books to get their mind off the haircut.
- Prepare them
- Notifying your child before it is time to go for a haircut can reduce the effects of unwanted surprises and may help lessen their anxiety surrounding the event. You can use a dry erase board or a calendar to do a daily countdown with them, along with giving them verbal reminders, such as, “two more days until it is time for your haircut!”.
- Give rewards
- Reward your child for successfully getting through a haircut! A sticker, a piece of candy, or a toy could be a motivator for your child. Using a “first-then” reminder may also help: “First you will get a haircut, then you get your favorite candy.”
- Practice at home
- Read books and watch videos about going to the hair salon and practice the steps of getting a haircut in your home with a doll or yourself. You can work through the motions of tilting head forward and backwards and combing through hair. There are also toy sets available to practice haircuts!
Haircut experiences are often difficult for many children. We encourage you to try these tips to decrease stress for your child!
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