Many barbershops allow kids and are thrilled to do children’s haircuts. Even though they may not be the most adventurous or even profitable haircuts to offer in your shop, they can be a fun service to bring in a little extra dough and venture into a void that many shops just don’t fill. But that said, if you plan to do children’s haircuts, you need to be prepared. So here are some tips shared by real barbers in the business on how to set the kids up for success in their professional haircuts. Whether it’s kiddo’s first time in the barber chair or they’re a seasoned haircut veteran, they’re still kids who do kid stuff and you need to be in control.
Greg Zorian from HowToCutHair.TV says: “Kids can sense everything. Try to make it a fun experience for them.”
Greg makes a great point here, and goes on to suggest talking to the child, or letting them hold onto a comb to keep their attention. If you want kids to be on your roster of clients, make your salon or barbershop a place that kids want to come. Ste up an atmosphere that is fun and kid-friendly, and set the kids up for success by pairing them with a stylist or barber who enjoys and works well with kids. It’s also important that the stylist remains calm and level. Just like young kids repeat everything you say, they also tend to pick up on your mood and amplify it like a megaphone. Whether it’s keeping toys around, having fun posters or pictures on the walls, or just giving them some salon stuff like combs or brushes to play with, just make sure you have plenty of fun distractions to keep them occupied.
Ivan Zoot, aka ClipperGuy, says: “Get rid of mom. Usually the kid is not the issue.”
Part of the problem may come with anxious, high-strung or meddling parents. (Sorry mom and dad!) The best things parents can do to prepare their children for the upcoming haircut is to act casual, or at least build it up as an exciting and fun experience. That, and make sure they’re well-rested and well-fed. Explain in advance what kiddo can expect when they walk into the salon and how the event will go. (Parents, use the “cape” to your advantage here if you know what I’m saying.) But once parents get the kid in the seat and the barber briefed on the cut that needs to happen, it’s ok to politely ask mom to have a seat. Perhaps try to schedule the parent for a haircut with another stylist at the same time. Not only does it keep the meddling parent problem at bay, but it can help the child feel like they’re not alone and mom or dad is going through the same exciting process.
Denise Marie says: “Put the kid on a stool. He won’t squirm around too much for fear of falling off, but he won’t fall. If he’s a screamer and a thrasher, ask mom to bring kiddo at a better time for everyone’s safety.”
Denise is all about safety. As a stylist, you’re holding a pair of sharp, dangerous scissors, and kids are moving targets. The best piece of advice she received on how to cut kids’ hair in the barbershop is to plop them on a stool. It minimizes their fidgeting and squirming but they’re not at great risk of falling off. But if the kid is out of control, won’t sit still, or won’t stop screaming, it’s best to ask mom or dad to bring the little one another time. Like Denise said, it’s for everyone’s safety. But that child can also be the bad apple that spoils the bunch in the shop if his anxiety, bad behavior or sheer terror become infectious to other kids waiting in line.
And everyone agreed that there should be a lollipop waiting for the kid at the end of the cut. Barbers shouldn’t be above a little bribery for great behavior. But as Zoot so eloquently said, “Don’t give the lollipop at the beginning. No one likes a hairy sucker.”