What are Protective Styles for Mixed Kids? PLUS TOP TIPS for Getting it Right

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What are Protective Styles for Mixed Kids?

If you’re here, you may have heard a lot about protective hairstyles for mixed kids and the importance of protecting your daughter/son’s hair from sun damage or breaking.

And while you may have a vague idea, like me you probably didn’t know exactly why it’s so important. Why is it necessary and what exactly does it do?. Well here it is…

protective style is simply a hairstyle that protects the ends of your hair, helping to decrease tangling, shedding and breakage.

Putting your biracial child’s curly hair into protective styles is necessary for growth, to maintain length, and often necessary to for time management. Trying to wash and style our children’s hair every day is not only practically impossible but perhaps not so great for their hair. 

So you’ve read through the basics on taking care of your mixed or biracial children’s hair. Now you need some more detail about putting it into styles that will help it to grow, prevent breakage and reduce daily damage caused by the elements. Protecting hair is beneficial to all types of curly hair textures, afro, natural and even relaxed hair.

I read somewhere that protective styles are to curly hair as washing daily and combing are to straight hair. It’s a must. The benefits of such styles help the hair to grow healthier and reduce split ends and tangling. 

What are Protective Styles for Mixed Race Kids?

I have three daughters and the time saved by putting their hair into protective styles cannot be overestimated. Washing, detangling and moisturising daily not only takes time but it also takes its toll on the hair. Protective styles can be left in for days, sometimes (depending on the hair) more than a week. 

Nowadays there are lots of ideas for putting your child’s curly locks into protective styles. 

What are some examples of protective styles for mixed race hair?

  • Buns
  • Braids
  • cornrows
  • box braids
  • Extensions
  • Sew-in Weaves

A true protective hairstyle hides the ends of the hair from exposure but should leave them in a detangled state. For example, once you have properly detangled your hair and pulled it into a ponytail, you can then twist down your ponytail and pin it into a bun. This helps to promote hair growth as the idea is to actually retain your length rather than the very ineffective idea of speeding up hair growth.

Sometimes braids or ponytails and buns that are pulled too tight can actually do more damage than leaving the hair out . Parents should be careful about the amount of tension placed on the hairline as it can actually be counterintuitive to what you are actually trying to achieve.

So that said, there are loads of hairstyles that protect the hair, some more exciting and elaborate than others. Here are a few examples that I’ve tried over the years but remember, the style must protect all aspects of the hair- the ends, sure but ensuring strong follicles at the root to promote hair retention and growth.

How often should I be putting my biracial children’s hair into protective styles?

Protective styles can be interchanged with styles that showcase their curls. Obviously, they’ll want to have their hair out at different times and that’s great that they want to let their hair breathe. Click here for some curly hairstyle ideas for both boys and girls.

A good idea is to incorporate styling your mixed kids’ hair into your routine. Try setting some time aside every Sunday evening to wash, comb, moisturise and style your child’s hair.

I know a lot of biracial kids who have grown up and look fondly on that time with their Mum (or Dad) as– okay, yes painful I won’t lie, the detangling can be an effort– but also a time that they looked forward to, when they had their Mum’s full attention and just knew it was part of their routine. (Giving them full access to screen time doesn’t hurt either).

If that doesn’t work for you, try finding a salon nearby that can braid your child’s hair. They’ll often be more skilled at it so the braids can be smaller and stay in longer. It doesn’t need to be fancy, just one that you feel comfortable in and that doesn’t charge an arm or a leg.

When is it Ideal to use Protective Styles?

A lot of naturally curly hair enthusiasts would advise to use protective styles a lot in the winter especially because of how dry the air can get. Saying that, if you live in an especially sunny climate and you expose your hair a lot, the damage from the sun can take its toll.

Take advantage of protective styles when going on holiday or when school is out and you don’t have the time, tools or routine to manage their hair properly. This is when I get creative. They appreciate not having to sit down every morning when they’re eager to get to the beach and so do I.

Top 10 Tips for Protective Styles:

  1. Always make sure your child’s hair is clean, deep-conditioned, and moisturised before styling. This will ensure the hair can actually go the distance last longer without breakage. How you prep your protective style is just as important as which style you choose.
  2. My favorite protective style is two strand twists! They’re gentle, easy, and quick to install.
  3. Leaving protective styles in too long can also perpetrate these crimes, ultimately, because of the lack of moisture.
  4. Never add too much product because it can actually cause product buildup. Keep it simple and use water and oil to maintain.
  5. Don’t overdo it and think you need to have an elaborate hairdo to keep it protected. All you really need is for the hair to be moisturised and oiled with the ends tucked away. A simple bun is a great style to choose.
  6. Keeping your child’s hair moisturised and their scalp clean during the protective style phase. Not just before and after.
  7. Make sure that the style you choose protects all of their hair—the ends included.
  8. Avoid going for hairstyles that put tension on the scalp and can cause more damage than it needs.
  9. Make protective styles part of your weekly routine. Make it intimate, put music or the tele on and allow your child to sit in between your knees and fall asleep if they want to.
  10. Allow your child to have their hair out once in a while. Spend the time when it’s something special and they want to showcase their curls. Loving their curls is just as important, if not more important, than protecting them.

The Ultimate Guide to Caring for Curly Biracial HairA Guide to Teach Your Girls to Love their Curly Hair

curly hair cheatsheet
GET YOUR FREE CURLY HAIR CHEATSHEET NOW!

Representation Matters!: Making an Impact on our Mixed Kids

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How many times have you heard this one from your darling daughters before? “Mummy, I want long hair… like the princesses”.

Or, how about this? “Mum, I can’t be Superman without a mask. My skin is too brown”.

For Mums of brown skinned beauties, the words coming out of our children’s mouths seem to take on a familiar repetitive theme.

Perhaps we all take it for granted that little girls will all want long straight hair. And perhaps it’s not as big an issue as we’re making it out to be. Something they’ll grow out of.

I think this is a flawed way of thinking. White kids don’t go around thinking or wanting black skin. They don’t fantasize from 2 years old of having curly afro hair.

They don’t need to. Advertisements, magazines, books, models all show a one-dimensional version of beauty that mostly embraces the white-skinned, straight hair version of beauty. Our children can’t be expected to be immune.

Whether it’s conscious or sub-conscious. Our children absorb everything they see in the world. I remember the day my daughter said to me ‘superheroes are for boys’. And that ‘princesses have blonde hair’. It’s because they had only been exposed to the single story.

With time, the story narrows even more. Black men are dangerous. Teenagers are scary. Rich people are white. CEOs are men. Scientists are old.

I am raising 3 mixed race daughters (half Nigerian, and half Iranian/English). And from an early age, my daughters became aware that their skin colour was different to mine. That their hair is curly and thick while mine is thin and straight. And that much of the television shows, ads and books that they adore feature white, blonde, blue eyed princesses, mermaids and fairies.

When my oldest, at 4 years old, came to me and said she wanted “vanilla skin like you Mummy”, I knew we had our work cut out for us.  Self-assurance and acceptance of who you are does not just happen haphazardly. And while I thought she would have a healthy sense of who she was just by virtue of the fact that her family is so diverse, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Our children are bombarded with images and advertisements, role models and authority figures who are more often than not, white. I realised that if we were going to give our daughters a fighting chance of remaining positive about who they are, we needed to be intentional about it.

Thus began our journey to #readtheonepercent- searching out the one percent of books that feature a black or mixed race protagonist as its main character. Being intentional about buying black or brown skin dolls, choosing television shows and movies that feature brown skinned characters.

It’s not easy, I mean, at times, it’s a battle. I went into London’s largest department store and found not a single black doll in their display. When queried, the salesperson suggested it was because the demand is high and so they go quickly off the shelf. ??? That didn’t add up to my basic understanding of supply and demand economics but it reinforced one thing for me. This is a lifetime of effort.

The premise that #representationmatters was highlighted a few years ago during the Oscar’s debate when a number of talented black actors and actresses were bypassed for the prestigious award despite stellar performances that year.

It’s been highlighted by black singers, artists, scientists and celebrities who understand that their success is being watched not just by the general public but by countless children around the world who see themselves reflected in their image.

The impact of Barack Obama’s presidency cannot be overestimated in terms of its effect on black boys and girls in America. Serena Williams’ understands her achievements are being watched closely by little black girls around the world who aspire to play tennis but can’t see a single black face on the court.

These images and faces are impactful. And each sighting is another cog on the wheel of positive reinforcement for your little ones.

I’ve got 3 daughters so an obvious gap in their obsessions was the lack of brown princesses and superheroes. It’s been harder to find but authors, publishers and toy companies are starting to wake up to the reality that children’s toys, books and activities need to reflect the world around them.

I’ve harnessed that momentum and launched a line of t-shirts for mixed race girls and boys so they can see themselves reflected in what they wear. My girls were delighted to see images of curly haired princesses, superheroes and ‘curl friends’ imprinted onto their favourite colour t-shirts. (https://mixedracefamily.com/shop).

For us, it’s about being intentional and searching out every opportunity to make representation matter. It means going further afield for that dance class, ordering abroad sometimes if a book isn’t available over here or, sadly, ordering online if local stores do not stock diverse doll collections.

Set your mind to be intentional and see your child’s eyes light up when they see images of themselves reflected in everything they

do.

 

Black or Multiracial?: Raising Biracial kids

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Black or Multiracial?: Raising Biracial Kids

The other day I came across a post from a fellow multiracial mama about how she refuses to call her biracial kids black but instead intentionally refers to them as multiracial or mixed.

It generated an interesting discussion about why, why not, and whether that is truly the message we should be giving our biracial children.

Biracial kids

What is their true identity? And, what, if any, is the message we as parents should be giving our children about their identity?

biracial kids
My oldest mixed race daughter

My own experience as mixed race Iranian/British growing up in Canada was that my parents just didn’t talk about identity. It left me confused, in denial and ashamed at times when teasing at school pointed out the differences in me.

My parents’ preference was not to talk about identity or the many cultures that made up who we are. Instead, they assumed that we (my brother and sister and I) would assimilate into Canadian culture if they just didn’t acknowledge our differences.

Unfortunately, there were enough reminders of what made us unique and different for us to remain confused. Food, family, language and culture around us were daily reminders even if we didn’t always look the part. Though my light skin and features allowed me to pass into the majority white culture, I knew my experience gave me away.

It was only at University when I was old enough to embrace my multiple identities that I began to meet other mixed race and biracial people and understood the benefit to acknowledging and discussing what being mixed race means in today’s world.

Because of that, I have always made it a priority to talk to my biracial kids about the multiple cultures and identities that make up who they are. When faced with the potential backlash that perhaps we talk about race and identity too much, I know that to ignore it and hope that it doesn’t become an issue is absolutely the wrong message we need to be giving our children.

So what message do we give our biracial children when their identity permeates the boundaries between black, brown, multiracial, mixed race, biracial, multicultural and all things in between. And does it mean they’re not just ‘black’?
Biracial kids
My DD2 wearing traditional Nigerian head wrap

Can they be both?

For me, being biracial can mean many different things at different times. Being black and white are not necessarily mutually exclusive though many mixed race celebrities in the US are conflicted.

While Taye Diggs refused to call his mixed son Black, Thandie Newton and Halle Berry only refer to themselves as Black women. And most famously of all, we didn’t often hear the former President Barack Obama referred to as mixed but instead the first black President of the United States.

So do I refer to my daughters as mixed, biracial or black and does it vary with each one depending on how many outward African features they’ve inherited as black girls?

I’ve come to see my biracial daughters’ identities as evolving. Evolving with age, and with their own experiences. And, like me, I know that at different times, they will identify accordingly.

When I was immersed in Iranian festivals and food and culture, I felt wholly and truly Iranian. Other times, I knew I could only partially lay claim to this identity and mixed Iranian and English felt a more appropriate term for how I felt. Still, there will be times, for example when I moved to England from Canada, when I feel my Canadian upbringing comes out strongly.

Identity is More than just a feeling… it’s an experience

My daughters will likely want to identify with the political solidarity that comes with black identity. They will, at times, feel very strongly about who they are as black women when they are faced with the injustices of discrimination and racism.biracial kids

They may, on the other hand, also be aware of their white privilege. And know that their experiences as part of a multicultural, multiracial family lent them different and perhaps more privileged experiences than that of other Nigerians.

How they are perceived by others will also influence how they identify themselves. But it is not our job as parents to teach our biracial children that they are only mixed and not just black or just white.

Instead, we should encourage them to be confident about who they are, to stand up to others whose perception doesn’t marry with their own experience and to embrace all the parts that make up their identity. Acknowledging all the while that this will change and identities will shift as they explore what that means for themselves.


10 Fun Free Ways to Celebrate your Multiracial Familybiracial children

Multicultural Children’s Day Book Reviews

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I’m so excited to be able to review three diverse children’s books as part of the Multicultural Children’s Book Review!
You know I love sharing book resources and couldn’t wait to share some of the more recent books I’ve been sent by some contemporary authors. 

This book is called “Being You” by Alexs Pate. I love the pictures in this book and the poetic style Pate uses throughout.

Written for 6-12 year olds and illustrated by Soud, ‘Being You’ captures the sentiment every parent wants to teach their child. Be yourself, remember who you are. When other children whisper about you and question the things that you do and how you behave, answer them with confidence.

Being You Book Review

It’s a well-written book about letting your child shine and helping them to face on the world- even with all its bad parts- and without fear.

I read this to my three daughters, ages 7, 5 and 3 years old. My 3 year old lost interest but my 7 year old was reading it aloud, intrigued by the messages that mirror much of what she experiences day to day.

Even better, there were images of children that look like my children. Brown skinned, black skinned, light skinned and dark skinned. It’s a book for both boys and girls and gives a powerful message.

Being You Book Review

Highly recommended!

_________________________________________________________________________

 My Dad's JobThe second book “My Dad’s Job” by Deirdre Pecchioni Cummings, illustrated by Erika Busse took me on a little journey. 

A picture book with cute illustrations all about a black father and son and his so-called ‘job’ to teach his son to be a man.

A sweet story showing the child growing, eager to learn but not realising until he turns 18, that he has been learning all this time.


“I Want to be a Bennett Belle” is also by Deirdre Book Review of I want to be a Bennett BelleCummings and illustrated by Erika Busse and was slighly less relatable as I’m not based in the US and don’t have any knowledge of Bennett College nor the American Black Historical Colleges.

It’s a picture book set in the US, Louisiana  but is meant to resonate with the millions of others who have attended and benefitted from other Black Historical Colleges in the US. 

It was touching and clearly the author was appealing to others who had attended Bennett College. The way in which the Grandmother refers to her days there and relates to her grand daughter is sweet.  However, it wasn’t a book that I could read to my daughters with any meaning. We are based in the UK and I’m not sure they would understand it at this age.

____________________________________________________________________

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators. 

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board!

*View our 2019 Medallion Sponsors here: https://wp.me/P5tVud-
*View our 2019 MCBD Author Sponsors here: https://wp.me/P5tVud-2eN

Medallion Level Sponsors

Honorary: Children’s Book CouncilThe Junior Library GuildTheConsciousKid.org.

Super Platinum: Make A Way Media

GOLD: Bharat BabiesCandlewick PressChickasaw Press, Juan Guerra and The Little Doctor / El doctorcitoKidLitTV,  Lerner Publishing GroupPlum Street Press,

SILVER: Capstone PublishingCarole P. RomanAuthor Charlotte RiggleHuda EssaThe Pack-n-Go Girls,

BRONZE: Charlesbridge PublishingJudy Dodge CummingsAuthor Gwen JacksonKitaab WorldLanguage Lizard – Bilingual & Multicultural Resources in 50+ LanguagesLee & Low BooksMiranda Paul and Baptiste Paul, RedfinAuthor Gayle H. Swift,  T.A. Debonis-Monkey King’s DaughterTimTimTom BooksLin ThomasSleeping Bear Press/Dow PhumirukVivian Kirkfield,

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Author Sponsors on board

Honorary: Julie FlettMehrdokht Amini,

Author Janet BallettaAuthor Kathleen BurkinshawAuthor Josh FunkChitra SoundarOne Globe Kids – Friendship StoriesSociosights Press and Almost a MinyanKaren LeggettAuthor Eugenia ChuCultureGroove BooksPhelicia Lang and Me On The PageL.L. WaltersAuthor Sarah StevensonAuthor Kimberly Gordon BiddleHayley BarrettSonia PanigrahAuthor Carolyn Wilhelm, Alva Sachs and Dancing DreidelsAuthor Susan BernardoMilind Makwana andA Day in the Life of a Hindu KidTara WilliamsVeronica AppletonAuthor Crystal BoweDr. Claudia MayAuthor/Illustrator Aram KimAuthor Sandra L. RichardsErin DealeyAuthor Sanya Whittaker GraggAuthor Elsa TakaokaEvelyn Sanchez-ToledoAnita BadhwarAuthor Sylvia LiuFeyi Fay AdventuresAuthor Ann MorrisAuthor Jacqueline JulesCeCe & Roxy BooksSandra Neil Wallace and Rich WallaceLEUYEN PHAMPadma VenkatramanPatricia Newman and Lightswitch LearningShoumi SenValerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Traci SorellShereen RahmingBlythe StanfelChristina MatulaJulie RubiniPaula ChaseErin TwamleyAfsaneh MoradianLori DeMonia, Claudia Schwam, Terri Birnbaum/ RealGirls RevolutionSoulful SydneyQueen Girls Publications, LLC

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts

A Crafty ArabAgatha Rodi BooksAll Done MonkeyBarefoot MommyBiracial Bookworms,Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms ShareColours of UsDiscovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Descendant of Poseidon ReadsEducators Spin on it Growing Book by BookHere Wee Read, Joy Sun Bear/ Shearin LeeJump Into a BookImagination Soup, Jenny Ward’s ClassKid World CitizenKristi’s Book NookThe LogonautsMama SmilesMiss Panda ChineseMulticultural Kid BlogsRaising Race Conscious ChildrenShoumi SenSpanish Playground

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will be given away during the party. GO HERE for more details.

FREE RESOURCES From MCBD

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta

Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

Clothing and accessories for your Mixed Curly Kids are now available! Visit our shop today! Dismiss

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