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Caring For Our Kids

Avoiding shear fright: Local places for kids’ haircuts

Prep is a salon designed especially for tweens and teens PHOTO: Liz Farrell

Whatever the age of your children, the key to a successful haircut is finding the right place or person. Although there are hundreds of salons in our area, only a few specialize in cuts for kids. You may be shocked at what you pay for a child’s haircut these days, but sometimes in our busy lives convenience counts. The most important thing is that the experience is a positive one for both you and your child. This can be tricky especially if you have a squirmy toddler unsure about a stranger with scissors or want a trim for your very picky daughter who insists on growing her hair as long as possible.

All of our children have a lot of hair and keeping it looking trim and clean can be challenging, so we quickly became familiar with some of the local venues for kids. So here are some cool places I think are definitely worth a try.

Snippety Crickets: This is one of the few places locally that caters entirely to young children, priding themselves on being “the place” for that sentimental milestone of baby’s first cut. They take your child’s picture for their wall, and if you’d like, give you an envelope to keep a few of those first locks. There is nothing fancy about this place except the cost: $19. There’s a train table and some toys, which are always a hit and a good incentive to get the children excited about going, along with a lollipop at the end. The key here is to be specific about what you want, and keep an eye out during the cut to make sure you are getting what you asked for. The two women stylists do a good job at making the children feel comfortable, and they are quick. That said, I think they do a better job with boys’ hair than girls’. (3562 Sacramento Street, 415-441-9363)

Simply Cuts: If you are looking for convenience and somewhere for the whole family, this great neighborhood barbershop on Chestnut Street is the place. During the week it is not hard to get in, but if you are looking for a Saturday morning cut, best to get there early, and be prepared for a short wait. The cost is $17 for a child’s haircut. The stylists are friendly and always check with the parents before they are done to ensure it is what they wanted, and they do not mind making adjustments. The shop does not have toys or high tech gadgets (unless you bring your own), but they do give a lollipop at the end, which according to my kids is always the sign of a good haircutting place. (2335 Chestnut Street, 415-922-0590)

Prep: This is the newest place to come on the scene, opening last November. My favorite part is it is owned and operated by two local moms who had a vision to open a place for tweens and teens that bridges the gap between a “baby place” and a high-priced salon. The shop is clean, fresh, and professional. My children’s favorites are the iPads and popcorn available during a haircut. The cost is a bit higher with cuts starting at $35, which includes a wash, cut and blow dry. This is a great place for girls who are looking for that extra bit of flare, whether it is a feather woven in, a special braid, or an updo for the prom or a special event. This is also a fun option if you are looking for a unique birthday party for your girls. You can book online but walk-ins are also welcome. (3235 Sacramento Street, 415-763-7737, www.prepcuts.com)

Remember, a trip to the salon or barbershop should be fun. For younger children, try not to bring them when they are tired or hungry. For older children, try to agree on what you are going to ask the stylist to do before you get there. Last, if the cut or style is not exactly what you had in mind, find the right way to say that without upsetting your children or making them feel anxious about their new “do.” You may have to try a place a few times, or try a few different stylists before you find the best fit.

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Liz Farrell is the mother of three young children. She was formerly a television producer in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. E-mail: liz@marinatimes.com.