Whether due to alopecia, chemotherapy, or another drug or disease-related complication, hair loss can be a traumatic experience for children. Both the process of losing their hair and the stares, comments, and questions from other children can be frightening and embarrassing. But a wig can help ease this transition, make the child feel better about his or her appearance, and increase his confidence in groups.
There are many things that you can do as a parent, grandparent, or older friend to help ease the transition from natural hair to a wig or other head covering. Remember – the calmer and more prepared you are, the more confident the child will be.
- Explain what will happen
Although this is one of the most difficult parts of the process for the adult, it is the most valuable for the child. Most children dislike the unknown and understanding that they will lose their hair is far less frightening than discovering it is falling out without understanding why.
During this conversation stick to the facts, be calm, even-keeled, and compassionate. Sympathize with the child’s feelings, and remember that your child is not the one to whom you should look for sympathy for your feelings.
- Take a picture of the child
Before the child begins chemo, take a picture of him or her with a normal hairstyle. Make sure the picture properly reflects the color of his hair so you can use this as a reference later. This means you should avoid dark shadows, under or over-exposed photos, images with a blue or yellow color cast, and those that are too far away for a stylist to clearly distinguish the hairstyle.
- Schedule a haircut
Getting the child’s hair cut short can help ease the transition, especially for children with long hair. Some children simply get a very short style so when their hair begins to fall out it is less traumatic. Others go ahead and get their head shaved at this point. Talk with your child to determine what is right for him or her.
Children enjoy helping other children, so encourage girls (and occasionally boys) with long hair (10+ inches) to donate it to an organization such as Locks of Love, which makes wigs for children undergoing chemotherapy.
- Keep a lock of hair
Keep a lock of the child’s original hair – preferably near the root, where it is the lightest. This lock can serve as a color and texture reference when you go to find a wig. Often, the child will want to look as much like his or her “old self” as possible, and finding a matching wig can go a long way toward helping your child feel more beautiful and confident.
- Go shopping together
Involve your child in selecting the wig. Choosing a hairstyle and color can be fun and exciting for children, and can make them more eager to wear their wig. Consider purchasing brightly colored head wraps in your child’s favorite colors as well, for times when he or she is not wearing the wig.
Although hair loss itself is an unpleasant experience, you can make your child feel beautiful and confident again by not only purchasing the right wig but involving the child as much as possible in the process. You may want to consider making wig-shopping a parent-child “date” and incorporating some of your child’s favorite places to go into the trip.
Above all, make sure that wig-buying is a positive experience for your child. Our friendly, caring staff as Ms. Opal’s Wigs can help you do that by walking with you and your child through the entire selection process. Contact us today.
Call at (561) 865-0330!
Ms. Opal’s Wigs is proud to serve our friends and neighbors in the Delray Beach area.