Caring for naturally curly hair has become an acquired routine for many women with textured hair, because our own mothers groomed our hair when we were children. By the time we were caring for our own hair many of us had relaxers. Our mothers teach us the fine art of grooming in all areas, but when it comes to hair it is truly a preference. Our mother’s preferences can become our own, and as we grow we are forever influenced by her decisions.

I had my own challenges with my own daughter, Megan, who is now 20. Megan begged for a relaxer when she was in first grade because she wanted straight hair like everyone else. I caved and later regretted that decision. She turned her back on chemicals soon after, because at the time I was at the salon weekly or bi-weekly with her in tow and she despised the blow-dryer. So, at the tender age of 9 my daughter had the big chop and was growing out her perm. I maintained her hair until she became mature enough to do it herself at 12 years old. With more women deciding to not heat or chemically straighten their daughters' hair, we often receive questions inquiring when a child should start self-grooming?

What age is the right age for self-grooming?

According to pediatrician Dr. Carrie M. Brown, there is no right age and it should be a natural progression for the child to show an interest in doing it. She must learn how to not only manage the tools necessary like a brush and comb but also how to successfully detangle, because over time the hair will become damaged if not properly maintained.

If you think it is hard for us as adults to care for our hair, then you can imagine how difficult it can be for our daughters, so to make the process easier here are a few tips.

Find dolls with hair like your daughters hair

This is easier to do now that we have a wider range of more diverse dolls on the market than when we were children. You may have to search online or just take a trip to your local toy store. When combing your daughter's hair, encourager her to do the same with the doll’s hair. She may show interest around 6 to 8 years old.

Find example videos

Watching a mother-daughter hair videos on YouTube is a great way (and one of the only ways) to see a demonstration of children washing and styling their own hair. We recommend these:

9 year old Washes and Styles Natural Hair Herself

DiscoveringNatural shares her daughter’s first time co-washing her own hair. This video is great for any little girl who wants to learn. I love the first tip she offers: making a list! She does an amazing job and this video is perfect for showing it can be done with the right tools, planning, and help.

5 Quick Curly Hairstyles for School

Daniela Zapata shares five simple styles she wears to school that will be easy for your little girl to create. They are little girl-friendly and stylish. The only thing I would alter is adding a heat protectant for her bangs when she flat irons them. We want our little girls to have good foundations on heat usage.

Let her know you are with her all the way

This does not have to be an all or nothing pursuit. You do not have to hand the torch off to her and let her find her own way. You can guide her, assist her, and even take over if things are not quite going as planned. Nothing is etched in stone and you can use a timeline that works for you both.