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Snip, Snip

Ah, that wonderfully soft baby hair. Some of us let babies and toddlers grow it for years before cutting it. Others tire much earlier of bangs that cover eyes, and boys getting called girls because of their hair length. Ultimately, many of us -- particularly those of us not skilled in cutting hair -- take our children to strangers to perform the task.

Sitting still is not easy for any small child -- girl or boy -- especially while someone goes chop, chop at your head with sharp scissors. Several businesses around the country have made their mark on children's hair. In the D.C. area, one of the most popular establishments is Cartoon Cuts. That's where even the squirmiest children can likely be persuaded to sit still and watch videos or cartoons while a stylist turns overgrown bangs and curls into a manageable cut.

In other parts of the country, parents might find Snip-Its, which has created its own hair amusement world complete with characters and games, according to At Cookie Cutters, which is mostly in the Midwest, the stores appear to have entertainment with some grooming thrown in. There, kids sit in fire engines, cars or trucks while getting groomed.

Of course, just because you have a young child doesn't mean you are restricted to using kid-only stylists. Our inexpensive neighborhood barbershop, which has retained nearly all the quirks of decades past including a manual cash register, is filled with parents and young children on weekends. The kids learn from each other and the barbers to sit still. The barbers are used to a little fidgeting. And when the little ones are all done, they hop off happily with a lollipop in hand.

What's your preferred method to get your child's hair cut?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  March 31, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Preschoolers
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We took our four year old daughter to cartoon cuts. She was still scared during the hair cut. But at least they were able to trim it straight. If I could cut it straight I would do it myself. Because it is sort of expensive for a dry cut. But worth it to get it straight. It must be hard to have boys. They need their hair cut way more then girls. Almost all the clients there that day were young boys.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 31, 2008 7:26 AM | Report abuse

I took my two boys to a kids-only salon, $20 each. Okay haircuts, but not perfect. About six or eight weeks later, took the older one to Haircuttery. $10, fine haircut, straighter than the more expensive one. Lesson learned!!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 31, 2008 8:02 AM | Report abuse

My oldest son will cut his own hair or have one of his sisters buzz it with one of those electric clippers. Turns out perfect everytime.

My kindergartener gets his hair cut at Cartoon Cuts. My wife wants him to look cute. "Cute" is expensive!

Posted by: DandyLion | March 31, 2008 8:03 AM | Report abuse

We've done whatever the local variant of Cartoon Cuts was, at least for the first few years. Comparatively expensive, but it did help. Once my daughter hit about 4, we started doing other things -- my mom will trim her hair every couple of months, and once or twice a year I take her to the guy who does my hair. She does great, because she knows it's a special treat, and she needs to sit very still.

The hardest part was getting the boy's hair cut the first time. He had the most beautiful head of golden ringlets (completely unexpected, given that both my husband and I have dark hair). I wouldn't let my husband get it cut for probably 18 months, but when even the boy started complaining about the hair in his eyes, I gave in. Sigh. But Cartoon Cuts did great -- they are used to first-timers, so they let him sit on my lap, and were very, very quick.

Posted by: Laura | March 31, 2008 8:10 AM | Report abuse

I cut their hair for years in a page boy cut with bangs. I did an okay job. Last December, having given in to their desire to have longer hair, which I don't feel confident cutting, I took them to the woman who cut my hair. She charged $8 each, and I can afford that once a year, so they'll go back next December.

Posted by: mom of girls | March 31, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

My boys, 7 & 4, go to the local barbershop about every two months. It's not necessarily much cheaper than a fancy chain shop, but I like supporting the small business, and it makes the kids feel grownup to sit in the chair, talk to the barber, and pay him when they're done. There's no TV in the shop so they look at newspapers or magazines if there's a wait.
Of course, it's the lollipops that really help!

Posted by: erouscg | March 31, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

We use Cartoon Cuts for both kids - boy 5 years; girl 8 years. Luckily neither of them were ever scared at haircuts. My son could probably go anywhere for a cut b/c we keep it short with a buzz but my daughter's hair is much harder to cut well. They both have thick, curly hair. Having been the victim of many, many bad haircuts -- I have the same hair -- I don't want to put her through that. Even at Cartoon Cuts there's only 2 stylists that cut her hair well. I buy the coupon book (buy 5 cuts, get 1 free) and Washington Parent often has coupons too. Although it's still a little pricey they both really look forward to going and watching their cartoons, getting a lollipop, so I feel like it's worth it.

Posted by: Pt Fed Mof2 | March 31, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse

I've been taking DD (2) to Snip-its since she was about 18 months old. She loves to get her hair cut, and often asks me if we can go. I used to she liked the primping aspect of it (and she does, to a degree), but it turns out she just really likes the animal crackers they give her while she sits in her chair.

We tried, at first, to cut DD's hair ourselves. But then I saw a photo of her shortly after a bang trim, and her hair looked terrible. Now, I'll gladly pay $8 every six weeks for her to have neatly cut hair.

Posted by: NewSAHM | March 31, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Why did I think that this was going to be a discussion on circumcision?

Posted by: SouljaBoy | March 31, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Hair cuttery! My DD loves it and asks to get her hair cut. We don't ever have candy at home, so the lure of the lollipop handed out post-hair cut remains strong.

Posted by: olney | March 31, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I thought it would be about vasectomies!

My beautiful 15 month old girl doesn't have a lick of hair to cut. I now see this as a blessing. Hopefully by the time she needs a cut (I'm thinking 3), she won't freak out. Wishful thinking. Now, how do I get people to stop calling her "him"? Pink dresses aren't enough (I mean, come on!), and I just can't put a giant bow on her head.

Posted by: atb | March 31, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Oh how did parents ever get kids hair cut before Cartoon Cuts? I don't recall bands of children wandering around looking like the Beatles. This is just another contrived thing that parents have bought into regarding their kids. If Americans can make something normal into a pathology, we're going to do it and we'll pay for it too. They should give the lollipops to the parents because they are the real suckers.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | March 31, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Our son (7) goes to his Dad's barber in Georgetown. They are great with kids and my son has been getting his haircut there since he was 10 months. He went through a squirmy phase but we just talked him through it and were patient. I think its $14 for each of them. My daughter (4) goes to my super fancy Georgetown salon with me and they give her a cut at a fraction of the cost of mine which is very sweet. They also give her the full treatment: wash, condiditon, scalp massage, and blowdry. She loves it. They have been doing her hair since she was 2 and she doesn't move a muscle the whole time. Even the snooty owner thinks its amazing. If you make a haircut something special, your kids may surprise you by rising to the occaision.

Posted by: anon | March 31, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

OH!!! A Tip... don't call it a cut!! Cuts hurt. Call it a Trim. I swear it makes a difference in a child's mond.

Posted by: anon again | March 31, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

"Now, how do I get people to stop calling her "him"? Pink dresses aren't enough (I mean, come on!"

There is absolutely nothing you can do. DD always had a ton of hair, and still, people would call her "him," even when she was wearing pink from head to toe. What else can you do but laugh?

Posted by: NewSAHM | March 31, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I'm so very lucky that my mother-in-law cuts hair, so my almost 3 year old son loves to have his grandmother cut his hair. Our almost 2 year old daughter hasn't had a hair cut yet, I'm just trying to get her to keep barrettes in her hair. Any suggestions?

Posted by: Momof2MD | March 31, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I think they air on the side of calling her "him" because it's less "insulting" than calling him "her," maybe? Sad, but probably true.

Posted by: atb | March 31, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Ha Ha air=err

Posted by: atb | March 31, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I might have to consider something else. My first few cuts were fairly decent, but my twin toddlers have decided they do NOT want Daddy to cut their hair. You'd think I was pulling out fingernails.

Like some other posters, I wondered if we were getting into a circumcision discussion.


Posted by: Fairlington Blade | March 31, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Up until recently, we cut our 3-year old's hair at home while she watched sesame street. But a few weeks ago, my husband took her to the hair cuttery (she really needed a real haircut). She loved it! She particularly liked watching her haircut in the big mirror on the other side of the room. My husband couldn't believe how well she behaved. She has asked to go back a bunch of times. Oh, and her hair looks great and the cut was only $10! I actually think she was better there than she would have been at a place like cartoon cuts because there weren't a bunch of kids running around to get her all excited and unwilling to sit still, kwim?

Posted by: reston, va | March 31, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

MoxieMom, in my day there were BOWL CUTS. Probably the pathologizing of the hair cutting experience comes right from those memories. ;) Anyways, we held off till 3 for my DD, then went to a local kid place variant in California (she needed it - she was *freaked out* and not just by haircuts, strangers were not her cup of tea). Now she will go to the local salon that cuts my hair. She loves it (and she has curly hair which I don't so I don't feel comfortable tackling it myself). Her bro will have to wait -- when we get enough in front to have to cut it, I want to get some scissors myself (tho i may skip the bowl...)!

Posted by: MamaBird/SurelyYouNest | March 31, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

My girls all have long hair and only one has bangs. I do the bangs myself and take the others to my salon and hack off the year of growth right before summer. Usually it is long enough to donate and the shoulder length cuts work better in warm weather. Because they donate it the cut is free and the manicurist paints their nails while they wait for their sisters for $5 each. They look forward to it.

Posted by: Momof5 | March 31, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Cartoon Cuts for our 3 year old. A great job and lots of patience for our antzy little boy.

Posted by: priscilla | March 31, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I took my older son to Cartoon Cuts for about 2 years before he started getting one bad haircut after another- our favorite cutter left and we could never find another good one. Now I go to a neighborhood barber shop, where it's still $14 per kid, and we can get a pretty decent cut. However, I've yet to find a GOOD haircut for my kid and I'll pay $20 for one if someone can recommend a stylist.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 31, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I like Cartoon Cuts. Keeps the kids distracted. I took my son to my barber once, but he was a little more squirmy. My daughter just had her first haircut. Both kids and mom got a haircut for $35. That's hard to beat.

I don't think cartoon cuts is some bogus marketing, as suggested in one comment. I think for a lot of kids it is easier. And I don't find it exorbitantly priced.

And I'm someone willing to admit when I've bought into stupid marketing with unproven benefits.

Posted by: Cliff | March 31, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought the topic was about another kind of snip, snip.

I love seeing little boys with long curly hair. So cute!

Posted by: anicole72 | March 31, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I don't have much to offer, my kids were always more than willing to sit still for their haircuts (yes, they are the type that will sit quietly through a church service) so I can't offer much help.

However, I will say that I think that toddlers & preschoolers look the cutest when they have their hair cut. It drives me crazy to see kids with hair in their eyes!!!!

Posted by: another mom | March 31, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

My daughter didn't have enough hair to warrant a haircut until her 3rd birthday!!! By then, I just took her to my normal hair salon (a Hair Cuttery-type place) and the woman cut her hair after mine for free. Needless to say, she still doesn't have much to cut! :0)

Posted by: ViennaMom | April 9, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

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