MANY Jamaican parents wait until their boys have reached the one-year milestone to cut their hair, but whenever you do it, it can be a bittersweet moment watching your little baby grow up. Whether you're choosing the barbershop or are doing it yourself, there are certain things to keep in mind when you reach this stage, which will make the experience go smoothly for both you and baby.
1. Get baby used to the sound of the clippers so he won't be scared when he hears it if you're getting his hair cut at the barbershop. You may need to take him to the shop for a couple test visits before the actual big day, so the environment is not new to him. Better still is having him see an older sibling or relative going through the process before it's his time.
2. Choose someone who is good with kids. Not everyone has that vibe that will gel with your child, so it's important to choose someone who won't get flustered or frustrated if the baby is having a difficult time.
3. Choose a time when you won't feel rushed. Don't go on a Saturday, for example, when there are more people using the barber's services and your baby might not be able to get individual attention. Go during the week when many barbers have some downtime, so that if your child wants to take a break mid-cut, it won't be a problem.
4. Have distractions. Whether this is a tablet, colouring book, snacks, or a place that has a TV set, having something to distract the child while he's getting his hair cut will take his mind off the experience.
5. Keep it simple. The first haircut isn't the time for fancy fades or lining up. Keep it simple until the baby gets used to the barber's chair.
6. Keep him comfortable. This means if he doesn't want to wear the cape, or doesn't want the after-cut spray, don't pressure him. Have a towel on hand just in case. If it's possible, ask if you can hold him on your lap during the process, to make him more comfortable.
Many of these rules also apply if you are cutting at home. Choose a time when the baby is not hungry or sleepy, so you have a less cranky toddler dealing with. And if you have to take breaks, do so. Remember that this is a new experience, and the last thing you want to do is make it traumatic.