Barefoot on Hot Coals

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Help! Haircut Havoc and Nail Trimming Trials

  • Does your child turn into a meltdown mess with haircuts or hair combing?
  • Would you rather walk barefoot on hot coals than to face trimming your child’s nails?
  • Is your child’s wardrobe limited to sweats or soft clothes with no seams or some other odd restriction?

Add these activities and exercises to your daily routine:

Activity: rub with scratchy glove, feather duster, and other textures.

Materials needed (1 or all):

  • Scratchy glove (bath glove)
  • Small clean feather duster
  • All kinds of different fabrics (for example, lamb’s wool, silk, denim, polyester, cotton, something with seams, and anything else you can think of that clothes are made of)


Scratchy glove: Put the glove on your hand and lightly (key word – lightly) rub all over child’s arms, legs, front, back, neck, shoulders, feet).

Optimum time: two (2) times a day for two (2) minutes. However, some children are so sensitive that you have to work up to this time. If you have one of those children, set a timer for 30 seconds and tell the child as soon as the timer goes off, you can stop. Build up little by little from the 30 seconds over time until you reach the full 2 minutes.

Feather duster: Lightly brush all over the skin and especially the trouble areas with the feather duster. Twice a day for one minute is good.

Various fabrics: For a total of two minutes twice a day, rotate through several different types of fabrics, lightly glide the fabric over the skin.

Practice: Have child watch you do all these activities on

  • loved ones,
  • dolls, and/or
  • stuffed animals.

You might also have the child rub the glove and/or textures on you.

Nail clipping:

  • All of the above activities done on the fingers and toes will be helpful to open pathways in the child’s brain to accept this as normal and okay and safe.
  • Practice nail clipping on other loved ones while child is watching.
  • Pretend practice nail clipping on dolls, stuffed animals, etc.

How long before you see a difference?

The short answer is that every child is different and it is hard to predict for your child the length of time before haircuts and nail trimmings are normal everyday projects and when other wardrobe choices grow acceptable in their eyes

Here’s the deal: What you are doing when you work these activities with your child with consistency is training the brain. Somewhere along the way your child received false information that is not serving them well.

You are helping the brain to understand that these activities are okay. Your child may be terrified because he doesn’t understand what is happening and all kinds of scary notions may have been created in his thinking. She may be freaking out because haircuts and nail clippings and certain fabrics are excruciatingly painful due to sensory issues. This is not their fault.

Sometimes just wrapping our minds, as parents, around the fact that our child is not conniving to make our world crazy – that this really is not about us  – that they are hurting, can give us the compassion and motivation to help in a targeted, specific way.

  • Assume that this is traumatic for your child.  
  • Do whatever you can to communicate patiently and kindly to your child.
  • Do the activities as consistently as you can.

We know personally how much these activities have helped our children and have taught them to countless other parents who have implemented them with great success.

For many reasons, some children need extra comforting words and actual exercises to open new pathways in the brain so that new connections can be made to receive what we know as normal everyday happenings in a more accepting way.

If you would like more support in helping your child reach his or her greatest potential, send us an email at Let’s get the conversation started.

We wish you the absolute best in your parenting.

With love,

Tom and Julie Meekins


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