My 4 Year Old Hates Getting a Haircut!!

Updated on January 12, 2010
N.I. asks from Deltona, FL
14 answers

My 4 year old hates getting a haircut. No matter what we do or where we take him, he cries and acts like they are killing him...literally his crying is like that, he slubbers, and all u can imagine. His 1 st haircut was easy, we took him to a children's place and after that we kept taking him there, and it was the worst thing ever. We did all, playes movies, gave him candy, toys, braved him, whatever you can imagine and still do. For the past 6 or 7 months we decided to do it ourselves cause $16 for a haircut is really expensive, and we tried to do the same thing, and he reacted the same way. What can we do? we try to hold him, give him anything, and it's soooo bad...HELP ME PLEASE!! ANY IDEAS ON WHAT DO DURING A HAIRCUT!!!!

oh, btw, I think I forgot to mention too (sorry) we have tried to cut during he is sleeping but let me put it this way, he ended up one side longer than the other..LOL! and since he was little he hated to be touch his hair, washed, cut, anything. He has a mild case of Autism and speech delay. He is talking more, but still struggles, so is hard for him sometimes to explain himself. But we are still trying. Thank you ladies!

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answers from Tampa on

Hi Noelia,

My son has gone through the same thing. Couldn't or Wouldn't tell us why. I spent the better part of 4 years trimming his hair while he was good and asleep. It was really hard to do in the dark.

So that is option one.

One day, I mentioned it was time to trim up his hair and he didn't like that idea. I said, You can have a milkshake while I do it. And that is what we did. He fussed a little.

Didn't work the next time.

Then, While we were still able to do a shower rinse after bath time, I cut his hair while under the shower. That was fun. He didn't fuss that much either.

Then we have the time when he was learning how to cut paper with scissors. Yup.... he took the scissors to his room and cut a piece of his hair. He then came to my office and said "How do you like my hair cut?" and I heard the sound of the scissors snipping behind his back. I turned and looked. Thankfully, the worse had not happened. He only took a little tiny bit off. (heavy sigh) Then he said "Can you finish it?" Yes sir, I took him out side and trimmed him up. I was amazed he sat so still. He had two little cars and played with those while I trimmed away. Wouldn't do it the next time I asked.

The next day time trim: I let him watch a Dinosaur show. He was really happy about that. But he still couldn't stand being trimmed up.

Where we are now and what we have figured out:
My son is six. He has many sensory issues. Including ultra sensitive hearing (Possibly Acoustical Hypersensitivity)
He is sensitive to shower spray. It feels like needles to him.

I finally figured out, that part of the problem was he didn't like the hair falling on to his shoulders. I'm sure part of it is the ones that fall straight and feel like pins. So, The very last time I did this I put a plastic garbage bag around his shoulders. This has worked the best so far. He watched the Dino show while I did this. I even showed him the plastic bag first and said maybe this would keep the hair off. He agreed. He still didn't like some of the clumps hitting his pants or the plastic. I haven't figured out this connection yet. I'm guessing it is a nerve issue. The plop of the hair on his skin, shirt, pants... is a startling fact even though he knows it is coming.
I also noticed that every time the scissors
go snip, he cringes (hmmm. the hearing thing).
After this cut, I put him straight into the bath to get any little hairs off.

I can not tell you if this will go away with time, every person is different. I would ask you to consider, doing it while he is sleeping.

I would never had guessed my child had sensory issues. It wasn't until he was four and in VPK that it came to light. Once I knew what to look for, I did a flashback to things my son had done for the last four years of his life and started saying to myself: "Ohhhhhh, that's why he did that". I'm not saying your child has sensory issues, but it would be worth while investigating now instead of later.(or being told by the school....)
There are really good books at the library to look at. One is a partner book to Sensory Children have Fun. It is similar in name. My child is not any one particular label from this book, but he does have a few traits from the book in general.

You may even have just a "strong willed child" who just doesn't like to get his hair cut. (check this book too).
Maybe your phrasing just needs to change. Instead of "It is time for a hair cut." Maybe: "Johnny, When you are done playing with your toys, It will be time for your Hair to be trimmed." There is one child specialist that I have met that says to use the "When YOU...... It will (or) You may..."
These are magic words and seem to help in some situations. It is just a matter of remembering to say it just so and to follow through.

Happy New Year!
Wishing you luck.

P.S. $16.00 is way too much money. although, I do like the atmosphere of Children's Place. We tried it, and you would have thought they were killing him, and no one had even touched him yet... We even went with a friend hoping seeing the friend have it done would be cool. No way. laugh.

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answers from Miami on

Sounds like sensory integration problems. I would seek the treatment of a brain based occupational therapist. When you start to look at other oddities in his behavior you may soon agree. This is THE MOST common complaint of kids with SI. One thing for the time being is, give him a lot of deep pressure to the head and shoulders before the haircut at home and right before. You can press down, massage, use a bumble ball or other vibrating device. This sends calming chemicals to the brain quickly to reduce that fight/flight response.

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answers from Boca Raton on

Perhaps having your two little boys having a haircut together and praising your 1 year old for being so brave like his big brother,or having your 4 yr old seeing his little brother have a haircut alone and watching?Perhaps having another member of your family taking him with them while they get a haircut without him having a haircut so, he sees it's really not so aweful.I wish you luck.

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answers from Nashville on

Cut it in his sleep, I had to do this for my son when he was tiny.

= )

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answers from Tampa on

Just a thought, but you could get a Flow Be. It is sold online, and it is the haircutter that sucks your hair in, cuts it and vacuums up the hair. If he is afraid of scissors, this may be a good solution. Good Luck.

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answers from Sarasota on

I agree with Shari...the first thing I thought of when reading your post was Sensory integratin. Especially if he's always hated his hair to be touched. This can actually be painful for SI children.

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answers from Orlando on

I cut my son's hair myself between the ages of 2 to 4. He would scream and cry like I was killing him forget about taking him to a place. We had to walk out of the salon many times. Then one day I mentioned the Cool Cuts place where they have DVD's and video games and he wanted to try it. I didn't believe it and was prepared to leave if he freaked out, but, he did great and we have been going there ever since. (He is now 6).

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answers from Orlando on

My 3 year old is the same way and he is really strong so he fights us and runs away. We are too ashamed to take him to a barber shop, so I decided to give him his haircuts when he is asleep. He wakes up with a fresh haircut and everyone is happy! Hope that helps!

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answers from Jacksonville on

Time. That and please be extra sure that they use the paper wraps around his neck/collar and are extra vigilant about keeping the cut hairs out of his clothes.

Our son went thru the same thing at about 2 years. He REFUSED to let it be cut, no matter WHAT we did... and we tried EVERYTHING. Almost a year later after struggling to butcher it at home, we took him to a new place/new guy that my husband had found for himself. He was SUPER and had heard all the horror stories about our son's behavior and offered to give it a shot. It takes someone with a heart and personality for dealing with reluctant kids... lots of fun, and treating them like a grown-up at the same time. He even put "smell good" on him afterwards (as he whispered to him that the girls would like it).
That said.... to THIS DAY (he is almost 12 yrs) he STILL dreads/hates a haircut because of the hairs getting down his shirt. He will sometimes wear 2 extra shirts to help catch it.. then remove them before getting in the car to leave and put on a spare he brought with him! Maybe that has something to do with your son's issues...
oh.. and as soon as we are home... he hits the shower and changes into fresh clothes AGAIN.

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answers from Tampa on

Have you tried asking him why he doesn't like getting his haircut? At this age, he should be able to give you some kind of response. I've heard of some people not saying 'cut' as that can sound traumatic to a child. Of course I am having a mind block of what they call it ;0). Do you (or even the salon) use scissors or the shaver? If it is the shaver, maybe he doesn't like the noise-I've heard that before. Is it possible that somewhere along the line he was nipped with scissors? Maybe so small that you didn't notice, but he did? Have you or your husband taken him with you to get haircuts, so that he can watch?

Sorry I don't have any real advice as thankfully we've only had one hair cutting problem. So I switched from our regular barber to that place at International Plaza for a couple of cuts. But then I went back to our barber when I knew he was over that phase.

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answers from Tallahassee on

cut it in his sleep?



answers from Tampa on

Ask him. What is the deal.

What if you just don't cut it?

best, k



answers from Tampa on

Where do you live? I have 2 5year olds and went to school for hair and have my license I could try and cut his hair, I can do at my home or my grandmothers shop. My daughter cried also at one point, but she does okay know. Just a faze.

M. gee

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answers from Tampa on

I used a therapeutic vibrating hairbrush on my autistic son until he broke it! We brush his hair together daily & started cutting his hair before his shower/bath weekly to desensitize him.

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