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Calming Clipper: Why my Sensory Sensitive Child Hates Haircuts
This article contains information on how to use the Calming Clipper to help sensory sensitive children with haircuts. Affiliate links are included for your convenience. Integrated Learning Strategies (ILS) is a learning and academic center. As a reminder, ILS is not a health care provider and none of our materials or services provide a diagnosis or treatment of a specific condition or learning challenge you may see in your child or student. If you seek a diagnosis or treatment for your child or student, please contact a trained professional who can provide an evaluation of the child.
For those of you with sensory kids, you know what a nightmare it can be when the time comes to take them in for a haircut. With all the loud noises from the blow dryer, the icky smells from hair product, combs and brushes that hurt their scalp, the texture and vibrations from an electric clipper, itchy hair that falls into their clothes and not to mention strangers who are touching their head, it’s the prime place for sensory overload and can immediately trigger meltdowns, anxiety and tantrums. With all of this going on at once, it is no wonder that sensory children become more anxious and fight getting their hair cut.
Because haircuts can be frustrating and difficult for both parents and children, there are many ways to help your child feel more comfortable. If it is just too difficult for you to fight anymore with your child, I’d recommend trying to cut their hair at home yourself. I know this can be tough when we aren’t all hair dressers, but they are making it easier now for parents.
I recently stumbled over a pair of scissors called the Calming Clipper that was specially made for parents with sensory children. They are easy to use and what I like about it is the comb lightly grazes over the child’s hair, instead of digging right into their scalp. Attached to the comb is a pair of scissors that cuts off the excess hair when the comb picks up the longer parts of your child’s locks. This also prevents the texture of the metal scissors from touching their head. They also provide other types of comb attachments you can try to better help you with boys or girls. I just wish this had been available when my child was younger because it really could have saved us from some difficult battles at home.
However, even when using the Calming Clipper at home, you may still need to try a few other methods to prepare your child for their hair cut. These ideas can also be used when you prepare to take them to the hairdresser if you don’t want to risk cutting your child’s hair at home.
If you cut your child’s hair at home or if you take them to the hairdresser, first massage their scalp before getting their hair cut. This not only prepares them for the haircut, it soothes the scalp and makes it less sensitive when their head is touched. Some of the most sensitive sensory receptors are on the top of the head so it is understandable why sensory kids dislike having their head touched. That is why the Calming Clipper is so nice because it barely touches their scalp.
If you take your child to a hairdresser you may also want to try massaging their scalp with a vibrating brush or other scalp massager if they will let you. It will prep them for someone else touching their head and will get them used to the noise of electric hair clippers.
Toys and Fidgets
Giving your child sensory toys or fidgets while you cut their hair or take them to the hairdresser can help calm their senses. Stress balls, noise-cancelling ear buds, chewable chewlrey, weighted blankets or weighted pads can help your child cope during a stressful haircut whether it is at home or at the barber.
Bring your own supplies
If you plan to take your child to the hairdresser, bring your own products and supplies if the hairdresser is open to it. Hairdressers are becoming more familiar with children who have sensory needs and are happy to cater to anything that makes the experience more positive. Ask them if you can bring your own shampoo and conditioner because they are already familiar with the smell and texture. I would also bring your own towels so they can brush the hair off their neck and scalp with a familiar texture instead of something that is scratchy or rough on their skin.
Go during off-hours
If you plan to take your child to the hairdresser, try to find a time where there aren’t as many people. During the day in the middle of a regular work week or later in the evening may be good options as opposed to a busy Saturday. This will limit the noise and the smells in a smaller, enclosed area.
After the cut
No matter if you use the Calming Clipper at home or if you take your child to the hairdresser, you will probably want to give your child a bath right after the haircut is done. Even when you brush off the hair or if the hairdresser blows the hair off their neck, hair will probably still fall down their shirt or get into their clothing, which may drive their senses crazy. It can become itchy and irritable to their skin, especially if they struggle with different textures so it is best to wash it off as soon as the haircut is finished.
Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning challenges achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs