Have you ever been to the barber shop and seen the little adorable kids about to get their first haircut? You smile and say, "Awwwww, he's so cute!" Then a few minutes later the barber turns on the clippers and everything falls apart. Now that cute little boy is the kids from the movie Problem Child.
Well, this a scenario that is played out all over the world weekly in barbershops EVERYWHERE. We as parents can help our wonderful children have a better experience at the barber shop by following these tips.
-All situations are differ just as much as our children, but we can be proactive to help our children adjust and have an enjoyable experience at the barber shop.-
1. Research barbers in your area. Start by asking friends and family to recommend a good barber that’s good with children. Get a good pool of barber names, addresses, and phone numbers. Visit the shops without the child present to narrow down your choices.
2. View the barber shop/barbers social media. Once you have selected your pool of potential barbers. Ask for their Social media (ie. Barber shops/barber's Facebook and Instagram) ** not their personal page, ask for the business page.** This will give you a good look at the quality of work and the number of kids that he/she cuts on a regular bases. While viewing photos of the barbers' work, pay close attention to the expression of the children being serviced. Do they look happy and smile? Do they look scared and terrified?
3. Start prepping early. Start up to four weeks out from his first haircut. Start viewing haircuts and styles you may want, but be aware not to choose haircuts or styles that are too complicated, complex or high maintenance. Talk with your child about the barber shop before going. Use terms and phrases like "My big boy will be getting a haircut at the barbershop!" This strategy gives your young man a sense of growth, maturity and confidence.
4. Ask questions Ask the barber if he/she has children. This can be an indicator if the barber knows how to deal with children. Ask if the barber takes walk-ins or appointments. I have found that be best days for first haircuts are weekdays, because it is less traffic and commotion in the barbershop. Very bad days are Fridays and Saturdays because those days are crowded, sometimes there are long wait times. and just too many distractions for the little guys.
5. Make the experience special: I have found in my 18 years of experience, when children associate something good (reward) with the barber shop and barber, it makes things a lot easier. Another valuable strategy is to purchase your child his own cape (maybe superman or batman)it's his special item for the shop that is his, and only his. This is a way for him to have something special to associate with the barber shop visit.
6. Prep Visits: Once you have chosen your service provider, take the child to the barber shop. Short visits at first then longer as the child gets more comfortable. Let your child meet the barber, shake hands and receive a candy or small toy as a treat. This will help your child associate a reward with the shop visits and especially with the barber providing the service. **Make sure to let them sit in the barber chair while the barber shows him how he can raise it up and down** Lets your child know how proud you are of them being brave. You can even try the chair first to let your child see everything is ok. Spin around once or twice to make the barber chair a fun thing. Remember to start slow and add a small new experiences with the barber shop visits. Save showing the child the clippers for the visits closer to the actual haircut.
7. Cut Day Visit: Reward!! Reward!! Reward!! Play up the haircut day to your child. Talk about how much fun it will be, and how he'll gets to see his new friend "Barber (insert name)" It doesn't hurt to remind him that his barber has candy or treat for him if he does a good job getting his hair cut. If the young man does a good job and gets his haircut, explain the post haircut reward you will provide (ie. McDonalds, favorite toy, favorite place. Also keep saying how handsome he will look when he is finished.
8. During the cut: Stay clam and don’t react dramatically to anything your child does. Remember it is his first time, they will adjust to how they see you react. Use as many words of affirmation as you can. This builds confidence. DON’T EVER force a child to do anything during a haircut. It will leave a lasting negative outlook on going to the barbershop. Take pictures! Smile! Let him see everything is OK. At the end, allow the child a chance to see himself in the mirror after their new haircut. Parents, please understand that for the first few haircuts you may only be able to simply get the hair cut down lower. Don’t expect tapers, fades, and edge ups right away. While some children will allow the whole service to be finished, others have not gained security in the process to allow it. No worries, it'll come in time, I promise!
9. Post Cut: Take you adorable freshly cut young man around family and friends to brag and show off his new haircut. This will not only help to make him more comfortable for future experiences, it is also an excellent confidence booster. If a stranger makes a reference about his haircut be sure to let the child acknowledge the compliment.
10. Keep the flow: Its important to continue to make short visits to the barber shop even if is just for a candy, pop, or a quick "Hello!" to your child's new friend his, Barber. Now be aware these relationship with his barber can really grow! the barber that gave your young gentleman his first haircut can easily be the same barber that gives his prom haircut. It HAS happened!!!
Quentin Guillory is a husband, father, retired US Navy veteran, and a license Texas Pro Barber with 18 years of experience in the barbering industry. He is also a licensed Master Barber educator. He is employed by Franklin Barber School and Xtraordinary Cutz, LLC in Houston, TX. Quentin Travels for local, private and group training classes throughout the United States teaching classes at school, trade shows,
and events. He is also the owner of WHATABarber Product.
Booking App: book.thecut.co/BarberQ