Getting a haircut may seem like a routine experience. But for children with autism, it can be a stressful event that leaves them feeling unsafe and unhappy for hours afterward. With a little preparation and a lot of patience, you can help your child get ready for their haircut.
Tips for Helping Your Child Get Ready for a Haircut
Here are a few tips to help make the experience of getting a haircut easy and fun.
Let Them Know What to Expect
Many children with autism feel better about new experiences when they have a general idea of what to expect. Take a moment to explain what’s going to happen when you get to the salon. Walk them through the process and try to answer their questions as thoroughly as possible.
Visit the Hairdresser Ahead of Time
Your child may feel more comfortable if they know what the salon looks like and have a chance to meet with the person who will cut their hair. Call your hairdresser and see if you can swing by at least once before your appointment. This will give your child a chance to become familiar with the space, the noises, and the sounds and offers the hairdresser a chance to get to know your child.
Bring Items from Home
Some kids do best when they have something to distract them from the haircut. This can be a favorite toy, a fidget spinner, or bubbles. It all depends on what your child finds most beneficial.
Reward Good Behavior
Haircuts can be a traumatic experience even for children who aren’t on the spectrum. Promising them a reward at the end of the appointment can go a long way towards encouraging positive behavior during their haircut. The reward doesn’t have to be huge—sometimes even a piece of candy or the promise of a visit to the park can be enough incentive.
Choose the Right Time of Day
Going to the salon during peak hours will always be more stressful for children with autism. Try to pick a time when the salon is least busy. Ask your hairdresser for guidance if you’re unsure. This way, your child will have fewer distractions and stimuli to worry about.
Getting your child’s hair cut at a salon is a big event, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. You just need to understand what stresses your child out and find ways to help them cope with those stresses. Schedule an appointment today and let our team help.