Sisterlocks and Your Baby Girl: From a Young Child Perspective
By: Lauren Francis-Jackson
As adults, we make our own hair choices and rock our hair however we like! Whether that be natural, relaxed, or somewhere in between, we exercise the option of CHOICE. However, children do not have that same luxury because we are making choices for them. There are many natural options for parents to consider for their child's hair including braids, cornrows, twists, afro puffs, locs, sisterlocks, and more! And parents hold an important role in deciding what to do in the best interest of their child. All hairstyles have their positives and negatives in terms of look, style, cost, functionality, and maintenance.
In the world of sisterlocks, there are some more specific factors to consider outside the permanent nature of the style. Here are some questions to consider prior to beginning the sisterlock process for your child:
As the parent, are you able to afford the initial installation and maintenance cost?
Will your child be able to sit for the installation and/or maintenance sessions?
Do you plan on taking the retightening class or consultant course to learn how to maintain you child's locks?
Will your child like sisterlocks as they get older?
Will you be willing to "take down" the sisterlocks if your child is no longer happy with them?
How will you teach and educate your child about her hair and maintenance when they get older?
One challenge I can see with a young child (under the age of 6) is that they may have challenges in tolerating the long locking session and maintenance sessions. Developmentally, I would expect them to have challenges for sitting for a really long time as needed. For play, a young child could have an attention span of 10-15 minutes to attend to one activity. Not much hair can be retightened in 10 to 15 minutes! However, for the child who may have difficulty sitting, the trained parent who can retighten hair can be a lifesaver. One benefit to the parent being skilled to retighten sisterlocks is that this can be accomplished in shorter sessions to meet the child's attention span.
Secondly, because a young child is just coming into their own and establishing an identity for who they are, the child may mature as they get older and decide they are no longer interested in wearing locks. Children are easily influenced by their peers, and what may seem like "what everyone else is doing". They are fickle and may change their mind quite frequently. Because of the greater permanency of the sisterlocks hairstyle, a parent may want to delay the decision for sisterlocks until a child is more mature and knows the beat of her own drum. That comes with time as well as getting older.
Thirdly, hair maintenance can be a challenge with young girls. They tend to fall asleep at a moment's notice, and hair care is not really a priority for a young child. As parents, help your child by talking to her about simple ways she can take a role in her hair care. Parents should talk to their child in terms that are easy to understand. For example, you may explain to your child about sleeping with the "shiny" pillowcase as a way to talk about satin pillowcases.
Ultimately, as a parent the choice is up to you whether or not you lock the hair. In my opinion because of the committment of sisterlocks-- this should be considered when your child can have a "say" in their own hair care and tolerate the lengthy maintenance and hair care needs for sisterlocks. If you do decide to embark on the journey of sisterlocks with your daughter, enjoy the beauty of the journey!
~The Sisterlocked Diva