Some of your most demanding clients might not even be more than 12 years old. Children are notorious for being hit-or-miss clients; it often seems that they're either shy, calm and quiet as a mouse or rambunctious and moving non-stop.
Teychenne and Jataon Whitley, co-founders of Milk & Cookies Spa & Salon in NYC, have more than a bit of experience in this department and have come up with six tips to manage unruly little ones.
6 Tips for kids' haircuts
- Entertain them. Tablets and other small electronics are great tools to keep children occupied if they're old enough to use them safely and if parents are O.K. with it. If they're younger or the parents aren't keen on excessive electronic use, ask them to bring a favorite stuffed animal/toy/doll, give them a lollipop (with permission) or grab an assistant to entertain with bubbles.
- Start 'em young. The Whitleys recommend starting kids at 2 years old, even if just for a trim. The more familiar the child is with the stylists and salon, the more they'll be used to the process.
- Prep with a pep talk. Make sure your client knows what's going on by explaining the process of the cape, sitting in a (fun!) chair that goes up and down and snipping off hair. If they seem worried, provide more info.
- Involve them. "We have some fantastic-smelling products," the Whitleys say. "We let the child hold the spray, smell it, choose their favorite flavors, and it makes it more fun. Getting the child involved empowers them and helps them enjoy the experience."
- Play hard—at home! Suggest to parents that they play some pretend salon at home by brushing the parent's hair and even spray with some water if the parent is okay with that. If the salon play at home seems fun to the child, it will be more enjoyable in-salon.
- Have fun with products. Sure, this is a retailing opportunity (is any parent going to outright deny buying the yummy shampoo their child has been checking out the whole appointment?), but it's also a great conversation-starter between stylist and client. "What does it smell like?" "What smells do you like?" "Do you want your hair to smell yummy, too?"
With a few tricks in your arsenal and a bit of patience, the cut will be done in no time!