A portion of the Autism community have difficulties with overstimulating sensory stimuli. One of the many overstimulating environments that would cause some uneasiness would be the salon or barber. Therefore, making the haircut experience enjoyable and fun can sometimes be a hard task to accomplish for parents. The following tips are recommended to make haircuts easy for kids.
Pretend play is one way in which we can prepare our loved ones for the actual hair cut experience. Pretend play with your child once or multiple times leading up to the actual haircut depending on how you feel the interactions flow. Using pretend hair dryers and plastic scissors is one way to make the haircutting experience something to look forward to even before actually stepping foot inside a cuttery.
Another way would be through verbal pairing in which short stories come into play. Through the process of making haircuts a fun topic to speak about and/or read about in order to make it an enjoyable experience. It can be in the form of a bedtime story book or just a conversation in the car about how fun it is to get a haircut.
Watching videos may also be another way to prepare kids for haircuts. Watching other peers getting haircuts show that we all get haircuts and that’s what big boys and girls do.
Visiting the salon or barber one or more times prior to the actual hair cut may also help in getting use to the environment. Take into consideration the environment can be overwhelming to some of our kids due to the loud buzzing of multiple machines and the overcrowded waiting areas. Thus, repeated visits might be needed in order to be at ease with the setting.
Bringing a preferred item to play with while waiting nicely in the waiting area, might also help.
Lastly, if your kiddo does a good job at the salon or barber, it’s important to reward their appropriate behavior with social praise, like token economies, immediately after!
What tips would you share with other parents? Let them know in the comments below.