Let me start this post by saying I love kids. I am a mom, and I totally get the ups and downs that come with being a parent (read my mommy blog post here). Kids need their hair cut, and sometimes sitters flake on you when you have your hair appointment scheduled. However, do kids belong in your salon? It's a question I get all the time, and I'm here to offer my perspective on it.
Know Your Stylist
When I started as a hairstylist I always said yes to cutting kid's hair. I was eager and wanting to learn, and of course wanted to make money. Kids were an easy way to get butts in my chair, even if they were wiggly and whiney. Now, when a client asks if I will cut their kid's hair I often say, "No." I realized after I became a mother myself that my capacity for patience with other kids was drastically reduced. I had to deal with the tears and tantrums at home, I didn't want to deal with them at work, too. Don't get me wrong, I love my kiddo with all my heart, and I do enjoy kids in general...just not so much the ear piercing screams and smeared cheerios all over my chair.
So, with that said, the first question to ask yourself if you're considering taking your kid to your stylist is if your stylist would even want to cut kid's hair in the first place. Some of us will be brave enough to say no, but so many of us will say yes for fear that you (the one we want in our chair) will leave us if we don't. When in doubt, ask. And offer reassurance that if the stylist says they prefer not to cut children's hair that you won't go elsewhere because of it. Instead, ask for their recommendation.
Know Your Salon
Does your salon have fancy furniture? Lots of stylists with lots of clients? What about luxury product lines? If you answered yes to any of these questions you should probably think twice before taking your kiddo to the salon with you, whether it's for your appointment or your child's appointment.
But what if there's a fun little table with toys and books and things to play with? Or really cool airplane chairs?! Then heck yes. Take your kid there ASAP. They, and you, will enjoy the experience soooo much more!
If your salon is kind of in between these two examples, again, just ask! Another key indicator is to look at the salon's price menu. If there's a child's service offered it will generally be listed. If you don't see one, it's probably a safe bet that kids are not their main attraction. Likewise, if the menu says something like "Kids cuts 12 and older" that's a general benchmark for when that salon does begin to accept children's cuts.
Know Your Kid
Alright, don't jump down my throat for this one, but your little angel *may* not be a little angel in other people's eyes. I know that to you your kid is perfect and you love him/her very very much. But when he/she is screaming bloody murder and trying to pull away while there are extremely sharp shears next to his/her face (and the stylist's hands) it's not only disruptive to other client's experience, it can be dangerous.
Let's dive into the experience portion first: imagine you are at a spa and you are so relaxed you are about to fall asleep when all of a sudden a piercing scream rings through the air. Relaxation over. Just like you, there are other moms and dads in the salon who will go home to their own screaming brood and for just a moment they are treating themselves. Your hollering little angel is the last thing they want to hear during their appointment.
And what about those shears? Well, they are sharper than most kitchen knives. No joke! They have to be to cut through hair (which has a strength to weight ration compared to steel). When I cut myself with my shears I often don't even feel it at first because they are so sharp. What would your reaction be if your little one suddenly turned toward the shears as they were by his ear and I cut him? Probably not a favorable one, and I would feel even worse because even though your kid moved it would be my fault for making the attempt in the first place.
So what if your kid actually is an angel? Yes, they do exist. I have little ones who sit in my chair who are better behaved than some adults I know. Those kids are a joy and are welcome any time! This is where being honest with yourself and truly knowing your child's limits is so important. Screaming, tantrum throwing 3 year old? At home haircuts might be your jam for a year or two. Sits quietly and follows simple direction? They're probably more likely to be welcome, just be sure to ask first. Kids definitely go through phases, too. Even if your baby was so good from their first haircut to their tenth haircut, if during the eleventh haircut things go wonky you're probably in a phase that could last a few haircuts or a few years so be prepared for a change of plans until it's over.
When I cut kid's hair I always hope for the best and prepare for the worst. You holding your kid's head still only traumatizes the kiddo and makes the whole experience unbearable for all of us. For me, I will end the service and try again another day, if we can, because I like my fingers, and your baby's ears. I hope this wasn't too harsh, but these are things that we, as stylists, think about when a little one sits in the chair. We want to make you, our client, happy in every way so we may very well say yes when in our minds we are stressed at the mere mention of children. At the end of the day, just ask your stylist and the salon what their thoughts are on the situation, and if they say no - don't get upset, instead ask for a recommendation.