Barbering for Kids – Top Tips from SliderCuts

barbering for kids

Although men are often the focus when it comes to barbering, kids are an equally important part of your client base. Barbering for kids requires a specific approach, something Mark Maciver, aka SliderCuts, recognises – so we had a chat to find out more…

How to Handle Nerves

Mark explains that kids are always in the shop, but if it is their first time, it’s usually the parents that are the most nervous, explaining: “If they’re making a big fuss and crying, or saying ‘that’s my baby…I can’t look’ then the child is probably feeling their parents worry, and will start to worry themselves.” The best way to rectify the situation is to offer reassurance, “We tell them the hair will look good and that the child will be fine.” he adds.

However, once the child is nervous it’s a different story says Mark: “Calming down a kid involves a lot of talking to them and playing with them. I often let the kid hold the trimmers, put the trimmer blades on my hand to show it doesn’t hurt, or put the clippers on their hair to show them we’re just trimming the hair. I also check in throughout the cut to make sure it’s okay for them and ask how they’re feeling. They normally say it’s fine but if it’s not then I know to pull back and reassure them until they’re ready to start again.”

These tactics also work well if a kid is struggling to sit still, “We’ll always try to make them comfortable – even letting them sit with their parents,” Mark tells us. Ensuring a kid sits still can help with the differences they present to barbering: “A kids’s head is a lot smaller, so less space to cut and fade. A kid’s skin is more sensitive too, in most cases,” he explains.

Whilst it would be easy to assume that a good haircut is the goal for a kid’s appointment, Mark counters that a good experience is more important. “Kids don’t care about how their hair looks,” he tells us, adding: “If they have a good experience then they’re willing to come back, but if they have a good haircut and bad experience they don’t want to come back. This can result in them hating the barbershop – there’s teenagers coming in that are fearful and scared they’re going to get hurt and roughed up from what they have experienced as a child. I see kids who are 12 or 13 years old who still fidget. That’s why I always promote a good experience as the most important thing.”



What About Special Occasions?

Mark also has advice when dealing with special occasions such as kid’s birthdays: “What I tend to do is suggest that you bring the child in maybe three times before the occasion itself. Let the first haircut be a good experience, let them come back again and have another good experience, and come in on the third or fourth time for the special occasion so we can do more with their hair.”

He goes on to say that over time they will become less restless: “By this time, they’re being less fidgety because of all of these good experiences and now they like coming to the barber shops. We give them lollipops, badges and they enjoy coming because they know they’ll get a lollipop or a wristband, or they might even get a book. If you do all of those things they’re ready for a good haircut by the third/fourth time.”

Reflecting on his experience barbering for kids, Mark offers up his three top tips:

  1. Experience – Making sure you give them a good experience over a good haircut
  2. Patience – Allow more time to cut the hair
  3. Affirmations and rewards – Just for being in the chair, lollipops and the “well done.. you’ve done amazing… give me a high five,” go a long way.


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