How to give a toddler a haircut (especially if that toddler doesn’t have much hair to begin with)

If you have a very discerning eye, you may have noticed that David’s hair is growing. David doesn’t have much hair, he takes after his mama. I’ve actually talked about this before. So before you say, “Oh, I didn’t have much hair as a kid either! I didn’t get hair until I was two!” Check that link and weep for the little girl who was still waiting for her hair to grow in the first grade.

My mom said my hair used to grow unevenly and in patches. So I wasn’t completely bald, I at least had patches of hair. David’s hair is coming in a little nicer. It started growing thicker in the back, which seems typical for toddlers. It had sweet curls, so I let it grow. Every time someone called it a “baby mullet” I cringed. David did not have a mullet, and you would know that if you grew up in Franklin County like I did, a place where mullets are not ironic or punchlines, they are a legitimate hairstyle choice.

I also put off the haircut because David started the habit of twirling his hair with his finger. It seemed like a comfort thing; he did it while we were reading books, whenever he took a break from playing with his buses, and even whenever he stirred in his sleep.

I decided to cut it when stray hairs started hanging over his collar because it looked sloppy. I can’t have my kid looking sloppy while he rolls around in the floor like a baby.


Before we started the cut, I turned on his favorite Baby Einstein video on YouTube. Once he was transfixed, I wet the back of his hair and combed it out.



This is the only part that distracted him from the images of trains, planes and automobiles. He wanted to use the comb.


There’s a 36-week pregnant belly (taken last week). Isn’t it crazy how, from that angle, you can barely tell I’m pregnant?

And this is what David’s face looks like while his brain is rotting to the tune of Baby Einstein.


After combing his hair, I just placed my fingers vertically along the back of his head and snipped.



I worked all the way around until I’d done the entire back, always cutting vertically.


My mom cut my little brother‘s hair, but I don’t remember her technique so I just made this up as I went along. All I remember her doing was buzz cuts when he was a little older. I know she definitely trimmed his hair with scissors because he grew up thinking getting a trim always included getting your ear cut.


I did trim a few stray hairs around his ears, but I stopped there since David doesn’t have much hair on the top of his head. Some of the benefits of having a bald kid: 1) you can wipe them clean when they smear guacamole on their head 2) you only have to worry about haircuts every 21 months or so.


Our entire family actually got haircuts on the same day. I got an emergency trim when I realized I was so close to my due date and it’d been nearly a year since I’d had a haircut. Maybe if I had more due dates I’d get more haircuts.

I also cut Tom’s hair. I started cutting Tom’s hair when we got engaged, and we still have a fight every single time I cut it. The problem is this: cutting Tom’s hair is a horrible chore. If you want specifics, come over for dinner and maybe that’ll give me enough time to explain what it’s like to pick tiny pieces of hair out of your clothes for months.

Plus, I like Tom’s hair when it’s long and curly.

After 4+ years of this nonsense, Tom gives me a few weeks of warning so I can prepare myself emotionally and physically. And even then I drag my feet. He starts the cut on his own and I have no choice but to fix it.

Even I’ll admit: Tom puts up with a lot.


I finished David’s cut before he finished the video. I think it turned out pretty well.


He sat still the entire time, but if Baby Einstein didn’t work we were also prepared with a sucker and arm restraints.


Unfortunately there isn’t enough for him to twirl with his finger, but you know what they say about a bad haircut: it’ll grow back.


  1. Meredith May 16, 2013

    It looks great!!

  2. Becky May 16, 2013

    Ok two things that came to mind 1.why wasn’t Allison a bald boy? When we cut her hair it was a disaster to say the least. She looked liked an Amish boy would have gotten made fun by a little Amish boy. Don cut her sideburns and they still haven’t grown back and that was about a year ago. 2. I cut Dons hair too and I hate the tiny hair particles that sometimes end in my mouth my hair etc. He now does most of it but I hate the responsibility of possibly messing up my husbands appearance . Loved this by the way!!

  3. E May 17, 2013

    Good job mama! David’s hair looks a lot like Sam’s, but I’m way too afraid to cut it – it might never grow back!! 🙂

  4. Jenny May 18, 2013

    You should ask Mike about the first time I cut his hair and I put the ear attachment on backwards. It was pretty awesome.
    You did a great job and I appreciate the belly pictures too! 🙂


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