It’s difficult to find a parent who doesn’t have at least one story about a child who decided, whether out of curiosity or determination, to cut their own hair. Kids seem to have a knack for finding the means and the opportunity for hacking away at their locks when no one is looking, a situation that’s left more than one parent despairing over a style that’s more punk rock than precious. While hair does grow back and an ill-advised self-styling might make for a few awkward months at most, it’s still a situation that most parents would rather avoid, if at all possible. While it’s just not possible to keep your eyes on a fast-moving kid every second that she’s awake, there are a few things you can do to make an emergency trip to the salon less likely.
Understand Why Kids Cut Their Hair
To prevent home hair cut disasters, it’s important to first understand the urge that leads kids to the scissors in the first place. First of all, they’ve mastered the necessary motor skills to grasp both the scissors and their hair, then to close those blades around the lock in their hands. They know that scissors cut paper, and natural curiosity leads them to try the scissors on other objects. While it’s not the safest activity and can definitely have an impact on her appearance, your child’s urge to cut her own hair is a natural extension of the curiosity and inquisitiveness that comes with the territory of being a child. Kids around the preschool age of development also have an urge to assert their independence, do things themselves and explore the world around them, but don’t often have the critical thinking skills to understand what the long-term impact of their actions can be.
Give Her Some Control Over Her Hair
If your child would rather wear her coif short and you’ve insisted that she let it grow to her waist, she’s more likely to make the change herself than she would be if long hair were her own choice. Make sure that your child feels like she has some input regarding the length and style of her hair. It may not stop her from snipping away out of curiosity, but it will probably put the kibosh on schemes to hack her hair off because you won’t let her have it cut by a stylist.
Keep the Scissors Hidden
It should go without saying, but kids who have limited access to sharp objects are less likely to use those objects on their hair. Keep scissors put away when they’re not in use for arts and crafts time, and take them with you if you’re called away in the middle of a project. In addition to keeping your child’s hair safe, you’re also keeping her skin safe from injury.
Dealing With Repeat Offenders
Some kids cut their hair once, decide that they don’t like the results, and never make another attempt. Others are habitual hair-cutters, taking every opportunity to snip away at their locks. If you’re dealing with a child that has cut her own hair more than once, it’s time to have a long conversation about why she’s feeling the urge to cut her hair. She may be enthralled with the sense of power she gets from making such a drastic change to herself, or she may simply be showing a budding interest in styling hair. If the latter is the case, invest in a few inexpensive dolls with long hair and a pair of safety scissors. Let your child know that it’s only okay to cut the hair of these specific dolls, and only when you’re there to make sure she doesn’t accidentally cut herself. Also explain to her that while her own hair will grow back, any cuts she makes to the dolls’ hair will be permanent.
Be Aware of the Behavior You’re Modeling
Kids learn to interact with the world and react to certain situations based upon the behavior they observe from their parents. If you don’t want your child to cut her own hair, make sure that she never sees you doing the same thing. Even if you’re a trained professional, your child is probably too young to understand the difference between adult skills and the rudimentary ones of a child. It’s best not to model cutting your own hair at all.