When you're first learning to cut hair, working on a moving target, such as an inquisitive child that won't sit still, is quite a challenge. However, when the child is angry or scared, this can seem downright impossible. Even seasoned stylists with years of experience have difficulty cutting an angry child's hair. It takes finesse, patience, and perseverance to get through the experience with your sanity intact. While you may not be able to snap your fingers and make the child stop kicking and screaming, there are some things you can do to calm an angry child while you're cutting their hair.
Don't Restrain Them
It's always better for the child and for your back if you can cut their hair while they're sitting in the styling chair. However, some children are so small that they have to sit on an adult's lap, which is fine. Unfortunately, though, many parents try to restrain their child throughout the cut by holding their head in place or pinning their arms and legs down. This only escalates the situation. To keep the child calm, don't restrain them.
If you can, allow the child to watch cartoons or play a game on a smartphone while you're cutting their hair. Books, toys, and suckers are also great distractions. If something keeps the child busy, focused, and calm, use it. If the child seems to calm down when their parent is around, allow them to stay close. However, if the child seems to act up more in the parent's presence, which is often the case, have another stylist help you distract the child, and ask the parent to wait up front.
Be Gentle with Them
Children prefer a gentle approach. What's more, they already fear that the haircut is going to hurt them, so any amount of pressure or pulling can cause them to unravel. Be sure to use slow, gentle movements when cutting their hair. When you talk to them, use a soft and gentle voice. Try not to be loud and boisterous. What you think is jovial and playful might actually be quite scary for a child who doesn't know you.
Cutting an unruly or combative child's hair is never easy. They just don't understand what's going on, and they're often scared of the whole process. The key is to keep your wits about you. Stay calm, offer distractions, and get a cut in when you can. For more tips, consult teachers at schools such as the New York Beauty & Barber Academy.