So your toddler/preschooler cut her own hair!

I had a tough noon today. I was getting the girls ready for church, planning on sitting Ruby down in order to do her hair, when I get distracted by something else for a few measly minutes. Reality strikes when I hear the faucet in the bathroom running. This is rarely, rarely a good thing with small children in the house. I rush into the bathroom to find Ruby with my brand-new ukulele in the sink, the logical result of her earlier referring to it as Bucky, the ship from Jake and the Neverland Pirates. I freak out and run through every statement said about child consequences and gentle discipline… before noticing her hair. See, I had been encouraging crafting and fine motor skills by letting Ruby have scissors. Scissors for months. Ever since I felt comfortable giving her scissors after the first time she cut her hair back in the spring.

A few minutes later had me sitting in the rocking chair trying not to bawl.

Fortunately, I was better prepared this time. I let Layne, who was sick that day, handle everything while I took the baby and went to church. Jade eventually flipped out in sacrament meeting, so I took her to the mother’s room. Eventually in wandered a neighbor, and we chatted and I was feeling better about Ruby’s hair and I was not in the state of disgrace and horror I was the firs time.

Trust me, a small kid cutting his or her hair is survivable. You. Will. Live.

So, a few words of advice and solace:

Your child’s hair cutting is not a declaration of your failing role as a loser parent. Unless you are actively handing your young offspring machetes, there is very little wrong with access to age-appropriate scissors. Also, kids getting into less age-appropriate scissors happens… and I daresay there is nothing wrong with kids getting used to those.

Your child is not the only kid to cut hair. Google this. There is an entire internet world of wonderful stories of other kids cutting their hair. You can and will find support and love and a whole lot of funny stories you can laugh at sooner or later. Like I said above, a kid cutting her hair is not a sign of a bad loser parent. It happens!

Hair grows. I know, this is the hardest thing in the world to take after finally getting lovely hair spouting from that head of former baby baldness, but save for hereditary early baldness and lousy fashion fads, your child will probably not go to college with a terrible haircut. The first time Ruby cut her hair, I bawled, I yelled, I blamed my husband. But you know what? It’s okay. We took her to a hair salon to get it trimmed and shaped. We went with a few specific hair styles. And as time went on the hair blended in.

But still, these don’t solve the problem caused by my kid cutting her hair!

Step 1: Deal with it. The hair has been cut. Duct-taping it back in will make things look worse. With very young kids, this was really just small kids being small kids. I’d avoid big discipline. I grant you, you’re probably going to go through the stages of grieving because that beautiful hair is not looking so beautiful. Be prepared, and take on those stages of grieving. Once again, the hair has been cut.

Step 2: Assess the damage. Find out how bad the hair cut is. Brush it out, comb it out. See what you’re looking at.

Step 3: Plan your next step. This is going to depend on the factors of how bad things are and what extremes or lack thereof you want to go with.

Some options:

  • Leave it alone. The hair isn’t that bad, you can roll with it, letting it be a cautionary tale or a new fad, your choice.
  • Rely on some fancy hair wrangling. This is what I might do with Ruby this second time. After sacrament meeting, I returned home calmer, assessed the damage, experimented to see if I could get it into decent pigtails and discovered I could. Now Ruby can wear pigtails for the next little while, or I can check out some other stuff. This also includes hats, bows, headbands, and whatever else you might stick in hair.
  • Cut it. The first time, I panicked. Looking back, I may have just seen what I could have managed. But I still recall it being kind of bad. So I took Ruby to the hair salon, explained what had happened, and a grandmotherly hairdresser took her back, trimmed up and layered the hair, and everything was a lot better. Today, I actually considered bobbing Ruby’s hair. She had cut at both sides, and having been through this once, I was reasonable. Could I have her hair cut more drastically? Would it be cute? I did make the mistake of vocalizing this. Layne said he could cut her hair, no need to head to the salon. I laughed and said we would not be buzzing her hair. No, he said, he would give her a bob. I almost fainted. If her hair would be bobbed, a professional would do it.

This last part is key. If you decided to go with a cutting it, either drastically or a little clean up, have a professional do it. Unless you’re pretty skilled with hair scissors, don’t make it worse.

Last of all, welcome to the club of parents whose kiddos have cut their hair. You will survive. It will be okay.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s