3. WATCH YOUR WORDS
As parents, make sure your own curly confidence is seen and heard in every aspect of your life, not just when speaking directly with your child.
“When you’re commenting about people’s hair, you have to be mindful that little ones are listening,” Branch says. “If you’re showing preference for straight hair, they’re going to pick up on that, and they take everything you say and do to heart.”
DaCosta agrees, “If the parent is saying, ‘Oh, your hair! I can’t take it, I don’t know what to do,’ then of course the child is not going to think her hair is beautiful. That’s where children get the fear from. They don’t wake up at age 4 or 5 and hate their curly hair. They heard someone say it, or they heard their parents complaining about it, so they feel self-conscious.”
So, say what you mean and mean what you say!
4. POUR ON THE PRAISE
Curl-centric stylists emphasize positive reinforcement.
“With kids, it’s so important to praise them, reassure them and express how great they are,” Branch says. “Give your kid a big kiss and say, ‘I love your curly hair. It’s what makes you special. It’s a wonderful thing!"
Then, take them to a salon that specializes in curly hair, so they can learn what’s so beautiful about it.
"Always help them to style their hair and give them compliments,” Christo says. “And keep telling them that you love their curls and they should too."
5. RECOGNIZE ROLE MODELS
Movie stars, pop singers and other high-profile curlies may have more of an influence than you realize on how young curlies embrace their curls. Stylists urge parents to seek out curly role models their kids can relate to, and then subtly point them out.
“Show them examples of celebrities or other idol figures that show how exotic and beautiful curly hair can be,” Christo says.
“There are so many people that have curly hair,” adds Branch. ”Start finding them images of people who have their kind of hair.”
And it could start with you. If you’re a curly, it’s easy to lead by example. After all, you’re the most important role model in your child’s life.
“I think it’s helpful for you to wear your hair curly, take a break from that flat iron and show your child that you’re proud of your curls, too. This is who you are, too,” Branch suggests. “Reinforce that curly hair is cool!”