African braids, or cornrows, can be great for an active child. Braids should be done every few weeks, and care involves sleeping with a scarf on the head, washing once a week and keeping braids moisturized with hair product. The child's hair can be neat and look great for up to two weeks.
Kids can pick from many styles of cornrows. Some opt for a basic cornrow. The hair will be braided from the front hairline to the base of the neck in long, straight rows. Other people have hair cornrowed into ponytails or pigtails, with the gathered hair braided or left natural. Or you can do cornrows in zigzags, swirls or waves that add extra visual interest and texture. Cornrowed French twists and up-dos can be done for more formal occasions.
Choosing a Style
Sketch the style or print a photo from the Web so you can look at the example. If you and your child disagree on the style, work toward a compromise that involves elements of the styles you both like.
Installing African Braids
Most big cities have African hair-braiding shops with stylists who can complete most styles in less than an hour. Prices vary. If your town does not have a shop, ask someone wearing cornrows who did her hair. It might be someone in the neighborhood who would cornrow hair for compensation.
You could do the African cornrows yourself. Practice first on a mannequin to get used to braiding. Work with damp hair that has product on it and pull hair tightly so the braids will stay. Give the child something to watch or read while you work.