Over 30 Sensory Friendly Haircutting Tips   

Most of us parents who have children with sensory differences know and understand how challenging haircuts can be for our children. 

Haircuts do not need to be as challenging and intimidating as they are. There are many tools and ideas to assist you to help your child get through haircuts a lot easier. 

Here are over 40 sensory friendly haircutting tips and ideas to help you along the way. 

This is a very big list. You don't have to do every suggestion or idea. 

These are just some ideas that may be helpful for you and your child. Do what works for your child and is best for you. 

hairstylist brushing cutting child's hair who has sensory processing disorder Over 30 Sensory Friendly Haircutting Tips

1. When cutting your child's hair at home you can also do a little at a time. Plan a weekend hair cut. A weekend at home when you can do a few trims here and there until it is completed.

2. Ask your child if they would prefer to stand or sit during their hair cut. You want them to feel comfortable and in a position that feels most relaxing to them. 

3. Ask to have an exact time for your child's appointment. This will cut down on wait times that can cause anxiety for your child while they are waiting. This will avoid a sensory meltdown. 

4. Swimming goggles during hair washing and cutting can make things go a lot smoother. 

5. Get to know your hair stylist and explain ahead of time your child's struggles and fears.

6. Ear plugs for kids that are sensitive to noise or water in their ears. 

7. Have your child meet your hair stylist before their hair cut. It is always easier for your child to know who is going to be cutting their hair before their appointment. 

8. Bring a change of clothes because a child with Autism or Sensory Processing Disorder may not like the feel of their hair on there bodies and clothes. When their hair cut is finished it can feel itchy and they may want to change there clothes. 

9. When your child doesn't like having their hair brushed there's several brushes that can make it so much easier for them. Have them choose a brush that feels good for them and you can even take it along to the salon with you. Knot Genie  & Wet Brush are the most popular.

10. Have fun with it! There's so many apps that they can have on their iPads that they can add their photo and try many different styles and colors and will make it more fun for your child. Play along and add your photo for different styles too.

child with sensory processing disorder brushing her hair Ideas To Make Haircuts easier for Children Who have Sensory Processing Disorder
11. Ask the hair stylist if your child can touch and look through her tools. (safe ones)

12. Have you tried unscented shampoos? These can be great for children who are sensitive to smells. They are fragrance free kids shampoo. Sometimes it can take trying a few to find one that your child isn't sensitive too. Wash your child's hair at home before going to the hair stylist to have their hair cut. This will not only cut down on the time at the hair salon but also make it a lot less stressful. for both of you. You can also bring your own shampoo with you to the salon too.

13. The words we use can change everything because some children hear the word "cut" and they are fearful. Try using a less scary or worrisome word like grooming.

14. Bring their iPad with their favorite apps for distraction. The less focused they are on their haircut the easier time will pass by for them. A portable DVD player playing one of their favorite movies is also a great distraction too. 

15. When making your appointment take your child with you. Let them have a mini tour to prepare them that it is not scary. Explain how cool things are there and how fun it is going to be. Show them different tools and seeing others also having hair cuts. 

16. Calming Clippers Haircutting Kit for Sensory Sensitivity!  For sensitive kids, buzzing clippers are too much to handle and a visit to the barbershop can end in a meltdown.
This quiet alternative to electric clippers allows anyone to give relaxed haircuts at home!

17. It could be beneficial to also let your child touch hair. Hair samples that you see at the hair salon make a great tactile fidget while they become more familiar with the feel of hair touching their skin. 

18. YouTube have many videos of hair cuts. A great visual for a child to see different hair cuts by different people to reassure them that they will be safe and that they can do it too. It allows them to be more prepared. 

19. Books for children that are about hair cuts can be quite useful as well. Using social stories for hair cuts could also be very helpful too. This is a great way to prepare them. 

20. Take breaks. Having a break during your child's haircut to go for a walk, walk through a store close by or even have an ice cream to ease some stress.

21. Take along a sensory fidget box for your child. Ask your child to choose their own fidgets. Keep there hands and minds busy and not so focused on the hair cut.

22. Ask your hair stylist when their shop is most quiet and not as busy. Booking a time for your child when there's less people could be very helpful. There's less distractions and noises that could trigger a sensory meltdown. 

23. Plan to have your hair cut first and then your child can have there's after you. Make a date. A fun day for both parent and child. The most difficult times are so much easier when you have someone to experience it with you and support you through it. 

24. Make your hair stylist chair a fun place to sit. If your child is like mine, they will enjoy a spin or two around in the chair during or before a hair cut. 

25. If your child is sensitive to sounds or doesn't like the buzzing vibration sensations from clippers then you can request not to use clippers and use scissors only because this can be extremely overwhelming and scary for children with Sensory Processing Disorder and Autism.

26. Try trimming your child's hair while they are having a bath. The warm water, Epsom salts, and bubbles could be more relaxing for them. Fill the bath with their favorite toys and while they play, you can cut their hair. This way, the itchy hair falls into the bath tub. Using bath foam and bath crayons are sensory diet activities and a great way to distract them too. 

27. Try trimming their hair while they are sleeping. Difficult yes, but the easiest and only way for many. 

28. Rewards. Hair cuts can be difficult for children and even more challenging for children who are sensitive and have Sensory Processing Disorder or Autism.  A treat, small toy or a trip the park after they have had there hair cut can also be encouraging. 

29. Turn on a movie in the living room and as they watch the movie try to cut it. Sit them on a towel on the floor or place a towel around their favorite chair but first always explain what you are about to do so they are prepared and there's no surprises. 

30. Plastic capes can feel rough for sensitive children who have Sensory Processing Disorder or Autism. If they don't like the feel of a plastic cape then you can always try a larger towel. If they don't mind the cape, try a kid friendly one with something on it that they would love.

31. Role playing is also helpful. Act out each step of getting a hair cut. Driving to the salon, walking into the salon, greeting the hair stylist, walking over to the chair, getting into the chair and having a hair cut. Breaking down the steps and acting it out will prepare your child for the experience.  

32. Most of our kids love YouTube! Search some YouTube videos of children having their hair cut too. Find videos of other children enjoying their hair cut and having a fun experience. 

33. You want your child to be comfortable. Try using a wiggle seat or a sensory cushion for your child. They will help your child reduce stress and stay calm. There are some really fun hair cut booster seats too that are now available to make it ore fun for kids. 

34. Choose a time during the day that is the least challenging for your child. When they are their calmest and most relaxed. 

35. Did you know that there are mobile hair stylist? Search for one in your area if you are not comfortable cutting their hair yourself or if it is too challenging to take your child to a salon.

36. If your child has a sensory diet recommended by their Occupational Therapist (OT) such a brushing and joint compressions,  sensory breaks or heavy work activities, try  to include sensory diet activities before attempting a hair cut. 

37. Using a visual schedule can be very helpful to prepare your child for a hair cut. Transitioning to and from. Reminders when the hair cut is going to happen. What will happen before after and during their hair cut.

38. Bring your child's weighted blanket

39. Bring a weighted lap pad for pressure therapy before, during and even after your child's hair cut.  

39. Try cutting your child's hair at home. YouTube also has a ton of tutorials to help you learn to cut your child's hair at home. Here are a few examples for boys and girls hair cuts.

41. Ask your child if they would like to bring a timer. Set to an estimated time. Using a timer allows your child to see how long their hair cut will take. It's best to choose a visual timer for children who have Sensory Processing Disorder or Autism and are sensitive to sounds. Timers with quiet operation options. 

42. Use Social Stories to explain the process of getting a hair cut so they are prepared and know what to expect. This will cut down on anxiety

43. You can always try quiet buzzing clippers for home hair cuts too. Designed to be quiet. 

44. Start going to the salon as part of your routine. Every 2-4 weeks or as needed and preferred. Try to be as consistent as possible. If the routine is the same as you prepared them for and familiar then it will cut down on sensory meltdowns and make hair cuts a more positive experience for not only your child but you too. 

45. Try using the same hair stylist each time so that your child is familiar with them and their salon. 

Sensory Friendly Haircutting Tools 

Knot Genie Supreme Detangling Hair Brush for Kids (Pop of Pink) | Perfect Detangling Brush for Curly Hair, Gently Separate Tangles, Leaves Hair Smooth and Shiny | The Pain Free Knot Detangler
Our unique mix of bristle lengths allow the hair brush to gently, quickly, and painlessly pull apart even the wildest tangles.
With Knot Genie, you can easily work with curly, wavy, straight, or even synthetic hair AND you can use our hair brush either wet or dry.
With so many fun patterns and colors, we have the perfect girls hair brush for everyone.
The same great hair brush as our Knot Genie Detangling Hair Brush but with a handle, making this perfect for brushing out tangles without help.
We love our products, and believe you will too.

Wet Brush Disney Original Detangler Hair Brush - Ariel - Comb for Women, Men and Kids - Wet or Dry – Removes Knots and Tangles - Natural, Straight, Thick and Curly Hair – Pain-Free Disney Princess: Every child has a favorite princess and Wet Brush has brought an exclusive limited-edition collection of Disney princess to your home. The Disney Princess collection features six of your child’s favorite Disney princesses: Ariel, Bella, Cinderella, Snow White, Jasmine and Pocahontas
Detangler Brush: The Wet Brush hair brush has soft bristles which are gentle on the scalp and detangles the knots giving you pain-free brushing. The quality soft detangler brush is not only for kids but also for men and women. The ultra-soft IntelliFlex bristles glide through tangles with ease
Takes care of your hair: Brush with wet or dry hair, our range consists of hair brush for curly hair or thick hair it’s for every hair type as the bristles are soft it minimizes pain

Wet Brush Original Detangler Hair Brush - Aqua - Exclusive Ultra-Soft IntelliFlex Bristles - Glide Through Tangles With Ease For All Hair Types
Unlike ordinary hair brushes, our brilliantly crafted Detangler does not rip or pull out the knotted hair. It glides through the hair to gently untangle even the toughest tangles with ease
Our Original Detangler Hair Brush features, ultra-soft IntelliFlex bristles that glide through tangles and knots with ease. The sturdy bristles gently massages the scalp while stimulating blood flow and strengthening your hair
Our Hair Brush is designed brilliantly to minimize pain and to protect hair against split ends and breakage. It lets you brush with less force so you can detangle with less damage to your hair

Calming Clipper Haircutting Kit for Children with Autism and Sensory Sensitivity
EASY HAIRCUTS: The gentle alternative to buzzing clippers for individuals with sensory sensitivity. PATENTED
17 PCS: (1) Scissor, (7) Combs, (2) Comb Organizers, (4) Finger Inserts, (1) Haircut Guide, (1) Cape (1) Storage Bag.
CHOOSE YOUR LENGTH: Includes 7 combs for cut lengths from 1/2 inch to 1 inch. MADE IN USA of Domestic and Imported Parts.
CUSTOMIZE THE FIT, Choose: SNUG, with soft gel finger inserts, MEDIUM with thin smooth inserts or LOOSE with no inserts.
2yr refund/lifetime guarantee. We serve Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) Communities.

It's Haircut Time!: How one little boy overcame his fear of haircut day
Go along with one nervous little boy, as he faces a day he DREADS―haircut day! He hides under the bed with fear at the beginning, but by the end, he has learned that it’s not so scary. He learns to cope with his fear of the barber, and even maybe like it a little! Michele Griffin is no stranger to “picky” children, having spent seven years as a pediatric occupational therapist working with children who were extra sensitive or had sensory issues. Griffin created this story to foster communication, tolerance and understanding between adults and children.

When Your Llama Needs a Haircut 
When it’s picture day and you realize your llama needs a haircut, you’ll need a good comb and some luck! This charming and hilarious board book features one shaggy llama and a whole lot of hairstyles!
Uh-oh. It’s picture day and someone's a mess! Does your llama need a haircut?
After a hilarious shampoo, it’s time to decide which style would be best for your shaggy llama. A mohawk? Layers? Or how about a brand-new fur color? But be careful…or you just might end up with a haircut, too!

Ratty Gets a Haircut
Find out what happens when a surprise creature takes Ratty to a magical place where he overcomes his worries and learns a little bit about the process of getting a haircut and the equipment used.
Written and Illustrated by a UK based barber with over 15 years of experience in cutting children’s hair, who knows that the more familiar children are with the process of having a haircut, the more smoothly it is likely to go.
This rhyming story is intended as a fun insight into some of the fears and worries that children can encounter when going to have a haircut.

Johnny Gets A Haircut
It's Saturday morning and Johnny and his brother Conner were just told they were getting haircuts after breakfast. Johnny is very nervous about getting a haircut but soon learns that going to barbershop can be fun and exciting, and theres nothing to worry about when getting a haircut. Johnny’s story is shared by many children from all around and now there is a children's book to help calm their fears.

Going to get a Haircut: A Toddler Prep Book 
A simple and effective approach for parents to prepare toddlers for their first haircut
Getting a haircut can be a scary experience for children who don't know what to expect. Help your little one learn what they’ll actually see and experience with Going to get a Haircut, a Toddler Prep Book featuring actual photos and simple, easy-to-understand language. Search ReadySetPrep for other best selling Toddler Prep Books - Going to the Doctor, Going to the Dentist, Going to the Pool, and Going on a Road Trip.
The best way to prepare a child for any new experience is to help them understand what to expect beforehand, according to the experts. And while cute illustrations and fictional dialogue might be entertaining, little ones need a more realistic representation to fully understand and prepare for new experiences.

Hair (Leslie Patricelli board books)
Is Baby really ready for that first haircut? With the usual panache, Leslie Patricelli’s one-haired wonder leads the way into another new experience.
It’s important to take care of your hair, even if you only have one! As Baby can tell you, that hair gets washed when it’s dirty and brushed when it looks messy. But when it grows and grows, there’s only one thing to do. This funny and reassuring look at a toddler rite of passage is ideal for little readers—especially those with a tiny bit of trepidation about that first haircut.

Haircut for Lion (Hello Genius)
Little Lion needs a haircut! Follow along as he and his dad go to the barber shop in this lighthearted board book from the Hello Genius series.
These delightful books provide a perfect guide to first steps in learning social skills, manners and self-care for the littlest learners. Toddlers love them!
Teaches manners in a positive way
Simple sentences and bright, bold illustrations make this perfect for the 1 – 3 year old crowd. Great for social emotional learning at home and in daycare
Fun bold and colorful illustrations children love. An excellent choice for parents who want to encourage emotional awareness in their children

24 Pack Bundle Sensory Fidget Toys Set
This fidget toys set for sensory kids is packed in a transparent storage box, convenient for collecting these hand toys after play with.

This sensory toys set is also best calming stuff and stress relief toys for teens, adults, great gadgets for autistic kids, or people with ADD or ADHD and OCD or high stress/anxiety levels, autism stim toys. By squeezing, stretching and flipping with these fidget toys, can relieve anxiety well. And the same time develop the children creation, visual training, desktop fidget toys for adults. 

Kids Haircut Cape, Dinosaur Waterproof Hair Cutting Cape Boys Barber Haircut Apron for Kids
The haircut cape is made of soft polyester, waterproof and anti-static. Hand washable and machine washable.
The kids haircutting capes with HD print dinosaur pattern, Fitted with a Adjustable hook & loop neck closure design, suitable for children's neck sizes.
This professional kids Barber cape is perfect for hairdressing, hair dye, hair styling, hair cutting, hair coloring, perming.
Specifically made for kids, the toddler hair cutting cape with lovely cartoon-themed designs . Perfect for both boys and girls.

Kids Haircut Salon Cape Hair Cutting Shampoo Styling Capes Cloth for Child
Super Cute and Lightweight , Kids Haircut Cape Size : 47"long x 38"wide.
Soft polyester, Water-repellent and Anti-static, hair won’t stick to material.
Durable, Breathable, Machine washable, Quick-drying.
Hair Cutting Cape for Kid ,Adjustable hook & loop closure design, Fits for various neck sizes.
Keep hair off of kids' clothes during haircuts, Ideal for shampoo, cutting and styling ,Suitable for salon or home use.

Kids Haircut Cape + Barber Brush Set Professional Boys Barber Cape with Adjustable Closure Dolphin Salon Cape 120 100cm Perfect for Kids kids haircut cape , with a metal buckle design at the neckline, it is easy to adjust tightness as you like. At the same time, the neckline fits to the neck perfectly and can prevent hair from falling into and make children comfortable and enjoying while hair cutting.
High quality salon neck duster, the brush is made of fiber, no velvet and no irritation. Beautiful design, the handle is made of wood, this hair brush is comfortable to hold, convenient and practical. It is very suitable for removing hair on the ears or neck lines after haircut.

SchKIDules Visual Schedule For Kids 153 Pc Deluxe Magnet Collection Box Set 132 Magnetic Activity Icons & 21 Headings For Home, School, Preschool, Special Needs (Great for Toddlers, Children & Autism)
Deluxe Box Set features 132 home, school and special needs themed activity magnets plus 21 headings magnets. This Deluxe set caters to kids who may have more on their schedule than others, have added special education or IEP needs and for kids who could also benefit from the use of behavioral prompts.
Behavioral benefits with visual reinforcement. Use these magnets to help kids understand and remember what's next and what's expected. Kids are visual learners. Toddlers with ADHD and some kids on the autism spectrum thrive on these visual supports.

Learning Resources Time Tracker Mini Visual Timer, Classroom Timer, Hand Washing Timer, Auditory and Visual Cue
GREAT FOR HOME OR CLASS: Simple timer with three colored lights and an optional alarm with visual and auditory cues for timed activities
MULTIFUNCTIONAL: Facilitate independent time management skills. Use as a hand-washing timer for kids or as a countdown in timeout and more!
EASY TO USE: Easy to operate with just 2 dials: total alarm time and warning time
AUDITORY & VISUAL CUES: Adjustable volume and visual cues. 

Quiet Baby Hair Clippers, Lower Noise Hair Trimmers for Kids Children with Sensory Sensitivity, Cordless Babies Infant Waterproof Professional Hair Cutting Kits
Advanceded noise reduction technology and high quality brass movement motor to enabble this baby hair clipper to work in low vibration and very low working noise about 48dB, just like pillow talking.Baby will be relaxed and eased.
Special R-sharped design blade with widened rounded tips, ceramic blade and high quality brass movement motor to secure safety. With 0.5mm gap to the skin, the ceramic blade is special designed for 0-12 years old babies.ENSSU baby hair clipper will not harm or scratch infant's sensitive skin. which will enable hairs trimming comfortable and smooth.

Baby Hair Clipper, Quiet Hair Trimmer for Kids and Children, Waterproof Rechargeable Cordless Haircut Kit for Toddler
Safe Haircutting Clipper - Baistom baby clipper adopts ceramic blade with 28 R-shaped teeth to cut kids’ hair without pulling hair or scratching skin.
Haircut Kits for Kids - 6 guide combs (0-3mm/3-6mm/9-12mm), brush, sponge, lube &bib are included in kit which allow you to create stylish haircuts for babies.
Silent Buzzer - Our noiseless trimmer is lower than 50 dB and suits for infants, toddlers, babies, boys and especially autism kids &sensory sensitive children.

Here are some more helpful Sensory Processing Disorder Resources

DISCLAIMER: I am not an Occupational Therapist. I am an adult who has Sensory Processing Disorder, a sensory parent and a Grandma. The information on this website is not medical advice and does not replace the information that your child's therapists give you. These are just ideas and information that I have learned myself over the years of being a parent and an adult living with SPD. If you are concerned for your child, please always seek medical attention through a family doctor, pediatrician or therapist. This website is for suggestions and informational purposes only. Each child is different and what works for one child may not for another because all children have different needs. Please always consult with a professional.

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