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FEATURES Oct 23 2012 8:52PM

Transitioning My Child Back to Natural: Advice on a Smooth Transition

by Laquita Thomas-Banks, http://allnaptural.blogspot.com/

Children can be transitioned back to natural in the same ways as adults via big chops and gradually cutting off the chemically straightened ends. Along a child’s transitioning process, keep in mind the following to make the process a smooth one.

First and foremost make sure the decision to transition back to natural is one they have chosen for themselves. I’ve found when they are the ones who have made the decision; the transition process goes much smoother, because of course they don’t feel that they were forced to do something they were not ready to do.

Of course, parents/guardians who want to encourage children to return to their natural roots can lead by examples and provide their children with plenty of information on going natural – pictures are very inspiring as well, especially ones of the actual child with a head-full of natural hair.

I’ve helped transition several young girls back to natural - and some more than one time – but I have found that most of them did not like the idea of going the route of the “big chop."  In my experience, I’ve found the best way to transition children back to natural hair is through gradually cutting off their chemically straightened ends as their new natural growth comes in.

Now some of them did find the process to be a bit slow. And as a result of their patience running thin they opted to “just get it over with” and had me completely cut the remaining straight ends.  But for those who hung in there through the process, their transition to natural was a breeze.

During their transition the most important aspect of the process to children are the hair styles. The internet is my main source of style ideas; you can also get style ideas from magazines as well. Scour the net for transition styles and seek out ones done on children. Adult styles work as well, but I found that when a child sees one of their peers wearing a cute transition style they relate to it better.

Once you have your pictures in hand, be sure to let them do the style choosing. It is important to continue to reinforce that the decision to return to natural is/was theirs and to make them feel that they have a hand in the style process as well. You both can even tweak the styles that you find.

When it comes to choosing styles, I find that choosing textured styles, such as twists, braids and twist-outs/braid-outs are not only simple styles, but help them get in the mindset – for when their hair is 100% chemical free- to start appreciating their hair’s natural texture.

Of course, age appropriate extension braid and twist styles are great protective styles, but they should not be worn throughout the entire transitioning journey. I feel that these styles don’t allow children to get to know and gradually love their natural hair texture and that they become sort of a crutch. So remember, if you and your child opt for extension styles, just keep a balance between them and styles done with their own hair.

One of my go-to transition styles for children is cornrows or flat twists in the front of their hair leaving their hair out in the back via curls, twist-outs or braid-outs; this style can be worn as a special occasion style – holidays, school pics, etc.

This style can also be tweaked, for those who don’t know how to cornrow or flat twist, by putting single braids or two-strand twists in the front and pinning them back or laying them flat using colorful barrettes, clips or headbands.  For those with longer hair – the loose hair in the back can be pulled up in buns, and for those with shorter hair the loose hair can be put into twists and or single braids then curled on the ends.

All in all, encouraging your children by letting them make the decision to transition back to natural as well as letting them take part in the hair style selection process both will result in a smooth transition journey.


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