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Hair Cutting Distress

Sensory Explanation:

- Your child becoming stressed while getting their hair cut can be explained by sensory defensiveness and over-registration with one or more sensory system.

- Hair cutting is a multi-sensory activity and also involves social interaction when done outside the home.

- There are various sensory components involved in the hair cutting experience, this can trigger sensory overload or the fight or flight response.

- For example, the feeling of the cape around the neck, the sound of the clippers, the smell of the different hair products & the feel of the blade around the head can all be sensory triggers.


Ideas to Help:

- Take your child to the park for 15 minutes before the hair appointment. Encourage swinging, climbing, sliding and hanging upside down from the monkey bars, if possible.

- Provide deep pressure touch to head/scalp prior to the hair cutting.

- Encourage deep breathing.

- Consider allowing the use of an oral sensory tool or fidget toy during the hair appointment.

- Use scissors rather than clippers when possible (less tactile & sound feedback).

- See can your child get home hair appointments, in the comfort of their own home.

- Even just one single traumatic experience in a hair salon where the fight or flight response was triggered can create a permanent negative memory for the brain. In this case, you will need to back-track and take baby steps to teach the brain that getting your haircut is not a stressful experience.

- Sing songs or play games during the haircut to act as a distraction.

- If your child enjoys looking in the mirror, play funny faces game in the mirror to act as a distraction and encourage smiles and laughing.

- Take time to find a hairdresser that your child likes and has a bond with.

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