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Constantly brushing hair out of your kid’s eyes? Time for a trim. But while you may have visions of an adorable, Instagram-ready moment, to your child, the experience can be traumatic. Here, some expert tips for navigating the experience minus the tears.

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Cute baby boy getting his first haircut
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1. Timing is everything
Schedule a trim during a time that works best for your child. “Avoid scheduling it during nap time, snack time or whenever your kid is typically fussy,” advises Cozy Friedman, founder of Cozy's Cuts for Kids.

2. Distract, distract, distract
Let your kid bring his favorite toy, pacifier or book with his to keep little fingers occupied (and comfort him, too). You may have a no-tech rule at home, but times like these are when a video on your smartphone can be extremely helpful. “If your child is a wiggle worm, having them sit in your lap will make everything go much smoother,” says Friedman.

Young girl getting her hair cut
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3. Have them watch you get a cut
Take away some of the scary factor by familiarizing your kid with the salon experience beforehand. Bring her along for your own trim or to an older sibling’s haircut—hopefully this will help her get excited about having her own turn someday.

4. And buy them their own barber kit
We like this one.

5. Choose your words wisely
The word “cut” can be scary (it sounds like the boo-boo she got last week), so try using words like “snip” or “trim” instead.

Blonde boy getting a haircut
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6. Face away from the mirror
A kid-friendly salon will have plenty of toys, experience and patience cutting your little one’s hair. But some children will still get freaked watching a stranger snip around their head (even if they’re sitting in a super-cool mini car). Try having your kid face away from the mirror instead—preferably looking at you. 

7. Take breaks
Dad may be able to get a trim in less than 15 minutes, but your baby boy will probably need more time than that. Set aside an afternoon for your kid’s first haircut and be prepared to take a couple of breathers. (See note above about kid-friendly salons and patience.)

8. Bring a change of clothes
The cape may not fit your kid or she may refuse to wear it (try telling her that she’ll look like a superhero with it on), so bring a spare set of clothes to change into afterward. Nobody likes hair down their back (especially not a cranky toddler).

9. Give them a treat
Sense a monster breakdown coming on? Bribe, baby, bribe. 

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