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Hairstylists and Their Clients: Working With Children

Hairdresser Drying Cheerful Boy's Hair
Careers in cosmetology are on the rise. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the addition of 87,600 jobs between 2016 and 2026. If you're about to join the growing number of working hairstylists and cosmetologists, you'll need to know more than just how to work with hair. You'll also need to know how to work with people. But what happens when those clients aren't adults?
Take a look at the top tips for working with young children in a salon setting.

Keep the Cape Away

Covering your client with a cape, or something similar, protects their clothes and keeps them dry during the haircut or styling process.
Even though adult clients can easily understand the purpose of the cape, younger children may not. Instead, they may feel fear about the seemingly odd object that you're trying to drape over them. Along with general anxiety, some children (especially those with sensory processing issues) may feel extreme stress or discomfort when covered with a cape.
Kicking off the haircut with a screaming fit or a stressed out child won't help anyone. If the child seems at all apprehensive or if the parent expresses concern, drop the cape. A carefully placed towel may do just as much to keep the child dry - minus the issues that the cape can create.

Schedule Wisely

This tip revolves around your ability to connect with the parent before the actual appointment. A tired or hungry child is a cranky child. If mom or dad schedules the appointment during what's typically the child's naptime or immediately before they typically eat a meal, the child is likely to be less cooperative.
A brief pre-appointment phone consultation gives you the chance to ask about the child's schedule. A lateday appointment increases the risk that the child will come to the haircut tired and worn from the day. Instead, suggest a morning appointment - after the child has eaten breakfast.

Give Rewards

A little bribery can go a long way. When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's child-filled wedding party had to sit still for post-nuptial photos, the photographer famously admitted that he bribed the kids with candy.
This isn't to say that you should hand out chocolates or lollipops to keep your child clientele quiet. Some parents may object to a sugary treat in between mealtimes. But you can stock your station with a stash of stickers or small trinkets (such as toy jewelry) to give the children if they listen to your words and are cooperative.

Keep Language Simple

Young children often find following multi-step directions difficult. Break down your requests into one - step-at-a-time instructions. Avoid lengthy or complicated words that a young child may not fully understand. The child won't understand your directions if they don't understand the actual words you're saying.

Explain Everything

Some children find new experiences scary or challenging. If the child is new to the hair salon, try explaining everything to them first. This includes what you're doing and the tools of the trade. The play-byplay (before each step) can ease the child's apprehension by letting them know what to expect.

Offer a Distraction

Concentrating on the haircut itself isn't always necessary - for the child, that is. A simple distraction, such as a book, toy, or tablet, can keep the child focused. A focused child is a quiet child. And this means that your client will have an easier time sitting still as you complete the cut.
Are you ready to start your career in hair care? School is the first step to your new profession. Contact Fairview Academy for more information.
Fairview Academy
22610 Lorain Road
Fairview Park, OH 44126
Phone: 440-734-5555
Business Hours:
Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
Saturday, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.