How to Cut a Toddler's Hair


Once your child reaches the toddler years, it may be time for his first haircut. Although toddlers are bigger and more agile than babies, they typically are not mature enough to handle a complicated haircut. For this reason, the simpler the better when it’s time to give your toddler a haircut. It’s also best to have an adult assistant available to help you snip your toddler’s locks.

Things You'll Need

  • Distractions -- such as toys or books
  • Towel
  • Spray bottle filled with water
  • Comb
  • Blunt scissors
  • Sticker
  • Ask your assistant to sit on a stool with your toddler on her lap. Have the items for distracting your toddler handy. Drape the towel around your toddler.

  • Spritz your toddler’s hair lightly with the spray bottle to dampen it slightly.

  • Snip a tiny strand of your own hair to show your toddler that cutting hair doesn't hurt, as this will dispel fears and anxiety, advise the authors of "What to Expect the Toddler Years." Tell your toddler that his hair will quickly grow back after you cut it.

  • Comb your little one’s hair to determine where you wish to cut it. For a child this age, it’s likely that the only cutting required will be over the forehead for both boys and girls and around the ears and neck for little boys.

  • Snip quickly and carefully at the spots you determined need trimming. While you cut, make sure your assistant keeps your toddler busily distracted with toys or books.

  • Talk to your toddler while you cut her hair to help make the process pleasant. Sing songs, tell stories and say how well she’s doing. You might also promise a sticker or a special excursion as a reward for sitting nicely.

  • Finish the haircut as quickly as possible and give your toddler lots of praise for cooperating with the cut.

Tips & Warnings

  • Choose a time for the haircut when your toddler is fed and well rested. If your little one feels tired or hungry, he may have trouble sitting still for the haircut.
  • Blunt scissors will minimize risk of injury if your toddler decides not to sit still for the haircut.
  • Try cutting someone else’s hair first before cutting your toddler’s hair to make it more likely that she will cooperate. Watching an older sibling or parent sit still could help your toddler know what to do and what to expect.
  • If your toddler decides not to cooperate, you can always suspend the haircut temporarily and try again another time.
  • If you don’t have an assistant, try seating your toddler in his high chair and giving him a snack on his tray, advises Ann Douglas, author of “The Mother of All Toddler Books.”


  • What to Expect the Toddler Years; Arlene Eisenberg, et al.
  • The Mother of All Toddler Books; Ann Douglas
  • Photo Credit James Woodson/Photodisc/Getty Images
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