"Over the years, I've come to realize that so many parents of children with curly hair have struggled to learn how to deal with their own hair," says Ilona Reece, who created her Taria Curlz instructional video to teach parents how to wash, condition, comb (painlessly) and style all types of curls. It even provides guidance on how to get them to sit still while they're getting their hair done.
"My main goal is to help parents teach their children how to work with their hair, and to let children know how beautiful their hair is," Reece says. "It shouldn't be viewed as a problem."
Massey plans to start Saturday schools to teach children how to work with their curls. Ouidad regularly hosts educational seminars for parents and daughters. The parents listen, while the children learn how to shampoo, detangle and style their own hair. Her 14-year-old curly daughter helps her with some of the classes, providing a positive role model.
"I arm them with knowledge," Ouidad says. "I empower them. I have a 4-year-old who can do her own hair. It's incredible."
Proper care is important. Massey says she sees children come into her salon with huge, unsightly knots in the back of their head. It further fuels any negative feelings they have about their hair.
These days, there are a number of products especially for curly kids that can help detangle and style their hair. Make sure the entire head is conditioned, especially the nape of the neck where loose head tends to form knots.
"Don't ignore it," Massey says. "At the first sign of a knot, work through it with a comb, putting a little conditioner on the comb."
Many kids with curls feel as if their curly hair controls them. One of the most important things you can do is to let children know they have options when it comes to their hair. Let them see the variety of styles they can wear—from ponytails to braids, from curly to straight.
"Tell her how lucky she is to have hair that she can wear curly or straight," Dellinger says.
For curly girls who want long, stick-straight hair, Massey recommends buying them a straight-haired wig.
"Let her get it out of her system," Massey says.
Many moms of curly kids also recommend finding photos of beautiful girls and women with curls, as well as curly-haired dolls. Buy them hair products especially for curly kids so they feel special.
Groft found a good way to help her daughter Tessa. She got a perm. "I wanted her to feel less alone," Groft says. "She hasn't been fighting it as much anymore. Now we do our hair together and use the same products."
Kelly Foreman, who created the Mop Top and Fuzzy Duck lines of curl products, has had the opposite problem. Because of her emphasis on curls with her business -- and the attention her curly middle daughter gets for her blonde ringlets -- her oldest daughter feels less confident about her straight hair.
"I try to focus on the way that my girls are is the way that God made them -- beautiful from the inside out," Foreman says. "I keep the message simple, clear and consistent."