How to Cut Toddler Boy Hair

Tips for Taming Your Squirming Toddler in the Barber's Chair

Your little one's mop is growing out of control, but the thought of getting him to sit still long enough to trim his hair convinces you it's not that bad. Since you can't avoid haircuts forever, it's time to arm yourself with some tips to make the process easier, whether you snip his locks yourself or let a professional handle the work.

Time It Right

Toddler child getting his first haircut

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By now, you know when your toddler is at his best and when his inner beast starts to show. Schedule a haircut when he's happy and cooperative. In other words, avoid nap time or late in the day at all costs. If you're cutting your tot's hair at home, sneak in a few snips while he's happily playing or watching a favorite show. He may not even notice his shorter locks.

Make It Sound Exciting

New experiences are often stressful or even scary for a toddler. You know haircuts are painless and easy, but he may freak out at the thought of something being cut from his body. Talk up the experience of getting a "big boy" haircut as a fun, positive thing to do. Explain what happens during a haircut. Let him watch an older sibling or cousin get his hair cut, so he can see how easy it is.

Choose a Fun Place

Toddler child getting his first haircut

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Going to the salon? Choose a kid-friendly place to get your toddler's locks chopped. Specialty kids' salons often have chairs shaped like cars and plenty of distractions, such as video games, TVs, toys and other activities, to keep his mind off the haircut. The stylists at kids' salons have a lot of experience working with uncooperative little ones, which can make a big difference in how things unfold.

If you cut his hair at home, choose a spot that's comfortable for your little one. You might put down a sheet on the floor in the playroom to catch the hair, so you can snip while he plays. Or head outdoors, and let the hair float away with the breeze. Your little one has plenty of things to spot outside while you snip.

Bring Distractions

No matter where the haircut takes place, show up prepared with plenty of distractions. A movie on a TV or a mobile device can be enough to take his attention off the scissors or clippers. Pack a little bottle of bubble solution, so he can pop bubbles during the haircut. A favorite toy is another distraction option. Some little ones respond well to candies or snacks while sitting for a haircut. If your tot has a favorite blanket, stuffed animal or other special item, bring it along to give him comfort. Pack his pacifier if he uses one. The sucking action can comfort him if he's feeling anxious.

Give Him Some Control

Some toddlers fight haircuts because they're unsure of the situation and feel out of control. Instead of taking a commanding role with no flexibility, go into the situation giving your little guy some control in the situation.

Let your son offer some suggestions on the hairstyle he wants. Give him a chance to turn on the clippers to see how they sound and feel. If you're cutting his hair at home, let him choose the comb, towel or spray bottle that you use. You can also let him choose where he sits when you cut his hair.

Don't Force It

You've tried all the bribes that usually win him over. He's not buying into the snacks or the distractions. What do you do?

Whatever you do, don't make the haircut a power struggle. You've probably already noticed how strong-willed toddlers can be. Maybe your toddler looks a little shaggy, but there are definitely worse things in life. Give him a few weeks or months, and try again.

Holding your child down to let someone cut his hair is not worth the traumatic results. Most toddlers struggle even harder. He may resist future haircuts even more after a forced haircut. If he's not giving in to your attempts, table the issue for now.

Tips for Different Hair Types

Your tot's hair type is a factor in how you cut it or what type of haircut to request at the salon. Some styles work better for straight hair or curly hair. Others are ideal if your toddler is blessed with thick locks.

Try these hairstyles based on hair type:

  • Wavy: A longer, shaggy mop-top look cut with scissors works well for wavy hair. Longer layered cuts also look good.
  • Straight: Thick, straight hair is ideal for a short, spiked look.
  • Curly: Leaving the hair all one long length lets your little guy's curls show. Pulling the hair out straight lets you cut the hair easily. Leave the hair about 2 inches long if you want it to fully curl. Go a little shorter for a cropped, yet still curly look.
  • All Hair Types: If you're looking for a low-maintenance option, a buzz cut works for almost any hair type. You can use a single clipper head for the entire head. A number one clipper head leaves little hair. Opt for a number two or three clipper head if you want to leave some hair. You can also cut hair shorter on the sides and leave some length on top.