Family Essentials®

When Your Kid Cuts His Own Hair

August 18, 2016

Posted in: Parenting Resources

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What would you do if you walked into a room only to find a pile of your little one’s beautiful locks in a clump on the floor and your toddler standing over them with scissors, having just given herself a fresh clipping?

“I’d cry,” said Kiddie Academy’s Director of Marketing and mother of two, Heather Davis. While it seems like a dramatic reaction, crying seems to be the common expectation among parents who have yet to experience the situation, but anticipate that it could happen with their child someday. “My daughter really likes her hair. Her little brother on the other hand, I can see him mischievously hacking his – or his sister’s! – hair…and then me crying.”

Finding that your little one has chopped his or her own mop can be stressful on a parent, especially one who covets their baby’s curls, but it’s comforting to know that the occurrence is  pretty common.

“When a child cuts his or her own hair, I would explain, for children, scissors have a purpose for cutting paper and making school projects,” said Kiddie Academy Vice President of Education, Richard Peterson. “It’s important not to overreact and instead ask questions to learn what the motivation was for cutting hair: are they acting out and looking for your attention, was it a case of inquisitiveness or was this an expression of creativity in a normal stage of development? Try to adjust your reaction accordingly.”

What do you need to do first, though? Try not to freak out. This post hopes to prepare you for this as an inevitability, so you should be somewhat prepared if your child cuts his or her own hair someday. Here are a few things to consider when and if it happens to you:

1)      You should probably make an appointment with your hairstylist, or at least your local Great Clips (which you can conveniently book appointments with through your mobile device these days). Depending on how far your kiddo got with those scissors, you might not want to tackle fixing the hair hazard at the homestead. Let a professional do damage control and try to make the most out of your child’s styling choices.

2)      This is a teaching moment, so don’t embarrass them. Maybe they cut their own hair because they were coveting a style they noticed on a family member, a celebrity or a friend. Maybe they cut their hair because they were bored. Or maybe they cut their hair because they were curious. Regardless of where the inspiration came from, their independence is developing and their fine motor skills are advancing by the day, so this is not an opportunity to scold or embarrass. Reprimanding the behavior after the fact could call into question this moment of exercising their independence, when that’s something to encourage and nurture in young children. Not to mention, yelling or getting upset isn’t going to uncut their hair.

3)      Take a picture. This might be a memory you look back on fondly and laugh at (someday). Assuming it is not a frequent occurrence, snap a photo of the damage done so you can show your kiddo on prom night in 10 years.

Peterson continues, “Tell your aspiring stylist that when using scissors for cutting hair, we always leave it up to the professionals who are well trained in their job. Usually this occurrence only happens once (or just a few times depending on the child) and becomes a teachable moment, as well as a phase soon grown out of. On the positive side, the hair will grow back.”

Do you think you know how you would react or has this already happened in your house and you know first-hand? Take our one-question poll and pick the emoji that best represents how you might or did react:

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