With school officially back in session, I’ve been on the hunt for new braid hairstyles for kids to try with my daughter. Her hair has been tied back in double French braids every single school day since we received our first ‘your child may have been exposed to head lice’ letter back when she was in kindergarten, and now that she’s older and has the capacity to sit still for longer periods of time, I’m ready to spread my wings and try some of the cute braid hairstyles I keep seeing on YouTube and Pinterest.
Whether you’re looking for tutorials to teach you how to French braid hair for beginners, want to expand your options with some easy braid hairstyles for kids that don’t take a ton of time to re-create, or want some cute braid hairstyles for older kids, we’ve rounded up 15 step-by-step tutorials that will NOT disappoint!
Whenever the other moms see my daughter’s perfectly plaited hair each morning, they often ask me how I get her to sit still long enough for me to put her hair up into DOUBLE French braids when they can barely get a brush through their own child’s hair before school. I usually just shrug my shoulders since hair-braiding has been part of our routine for years and it doesn’t take more than about 5 minutes to style my daughter’s hair each morning, but when I think back to when that first lice letter came home, I can vividly remember how much of a struggle it used to be. My intense fear of head lice is what kept me going, and the following tips and tricks definitely helped make the process easier.
Use the right hair products. My daughter has gorgeous naturally curly hair that falls just below her shoulders, and I used to find it extremely challenging to brush her hair. The mere sight of her hairbrush used to make her run screaming in the opposite direction, but once we ditched her baby shampoo for a 2-in-1 formula for kids (we use Sauve Kids Shampoo and Conditioner) and started using a detangler (Sauve Kids Apple Detangler is a great one), hair brushing became a breeze.
Invest in a detangling brush. I worked with Knot Genie on a project about 4 years ago (note: they have not compensated me to mention them in this post), and they sent me an entire box of their brushes to try which have been an absolute lifesaver to both my daughter and me. I know there are tons of other awesome detangling brushes on the market, but if you want my recommendation, the Knot Genie is where it’s at!
Distract with the TV and electronics. When I first started testing out different braid hairstyles for kids on my daughter, I bribed her to sit still with her iPad. Since we require her to earn her iPad time throughout the day and she finds this system extremely motivating, this just worked for us. Another option is to let your kids watch their favorite TV show while you’re braiding their hair. The idea is to give them something to do that will hold their attention long enough to sit still, so do whatever works!
Create a pretend hair salon. My daughter discovered Nickelodeon’s show Sunny Day last fall, and it made a huge difference in our morning hair routine. Sunny runs her own hair salon with the help of her friends Roxy and Blair, and each episode ends with a clip of Sunny creating a new child-friendly hairstyle. We tried a bunch of the different ideas throughout the school year, and we’ve since incorporated Sunny Day toys into our day to keep things extra exciting. The Sunny Day bath toys all have real hair so your little one can become more comfortable with the idea of shampooing and rinsing hair, each Sunny Day doll comes with hair brushes and hair accessories so your child can create her own hairstyles, and I love the Sunny Day Accessory Tote Hair Style File as we can create our own salon at home and on the go!
Wear hair in a basic braid at night. My last tip to help you get your child to sit still long enough for you to try different braid hairstyles for kids on her is to ensure you put her hair into a basic braid each night before bed. This will ensure her hair isn’t tangled and full of knots when she wakes up in the morning, which will make it much easier to brush through her hair, keeping upset to a minimum and allowing you more time to attempt to braid and style it.
While YouTube is full of so many adorable braid hairstyles for kids to try, I feel like every mom (and dad) should know how to French braid hair as it’s one of the easiest and most versatile hairstyles for young kids. It looks great and stays in place all day long! French braids also form the basis of a lot of other braid hairstyles for kids, so once you learn the basics, you’ll be able to master a lot of other great looks for your gal. Here is a great tutorial by Pretty Hair is Fun to get you started.
I find it easier to French braid my daughter’s hair when it’s completely dry to ensure my fingers aren’t getting stuck and pulling on individual strands. I start with my Knot Genie and then move onto an anti-static wide tooth comb.
Front Pull Through Braids | Easy Toddler Hairstyles
If you’re getting bored with basic French braids and you’re on the hunt for easy braid hairstyles for kids that still keep the hair pulled back and away from the face while adding a bit of style, this is a simple and fun option to try. This hairstyle works best with damp hair, and a little spray gel will help keep hair manageable. She uses colored kids elastics, and shows you a great trick to remove them without a struggle at the end of the day!
Pull Through Braid with Bright Elastics | LittleGirlHair
This is an easier version of the style above, and I find it’s a great idea for days when you’re running late but still want to add a bit of style to your child’s hair. Use colorful elastics to match your child’s outfit, or opt for holiday-themed colors for Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, etc. for a more exciting look!
French Crown Braid Hair Tutorial | Two Little Girls Hairstyles
I’ve always wondered how to get the perfect crown braid without the ends of my daughter’s hair showing, and this tutorial taught me how to do that and so much more. All you need is a detangling spray, small comb, and a Topsy Tail to create this gorgeous look that keeps hair contained and off the face all day long.
Waterfall French Braid | Cute Girls Hairstyles
This is a simple and timeless look, and you can do so many things with it. You can leave the rest of the hair down or pull it back into a pontail, bun, or braid, and I love that this style gives you an opportunity to get your child involved so she feels like she’s part of the process.
Half Dutch Braids | Two Little Girls Hairstyles
Once you’ve got your French braiding skills down, the Dutch braid is a fun idea to play around with as it adds a bit more style while still keeping hair neat, tidy, and close to the head. It takes a bit of practice, but the finished look can be really striking.
Lace Braided Bun | Cute Girls Hairstyles
Okay, full disclosure here: I didn’t think this was going to be suitable to include in a roundup of easy braid hairstyles for kids, but once you watch the tutorial, you’ll soon see that this is a pretty easy look to re-create. All you need is a donut bun maker and some bobby pins and you have the perfect hairstyle for dance class and beyond!
How to Create a Crossover Dutch Braid | Cute Girls Hairstyles
If you’re looking for the perfect hairstyle for school picture day, I think I’ve found it for you! I love how simple this look is, and feel it’s the perfect look for special occasions. You can easily tie the rest of the hair back into a ponytail, braid, or bun if needed!
If you’re looking for braid hairstyles for kids who are older and have more of an interest (and a lot more patience) in how their hair looks each day, Cute Girls Hairstyles has tons of great ideas to try. Here are 7 of my favorites!
French Twist into Rope Braid | Cute Girls Hairstyles
This is an interesting twist on a typical French braid, and I find it looks particularly striking on gals with long, thick hair. You can keep it more structured for school, or opt for the looser twisted look she initially shows for a school performance or birthday party.
Zipper Braid Updo | Cute Girls Hairstyles
Woooooooooo! This is a bit too complicated for my sweet gal and me to contemplate for now, but I envision us tackling it together when she’s a bit older and we want to find new ways to wow her friends at school. LOL. You’ll need a fine tooth comb and a lot of patience for this one, but if your child is willing to help out, it’s a great style for a big occasion.
Waterfall Twist Rope Braid | Cute Girls Hairstyles
If you’re looking for easy braid hairstyles for kids that will give your little one a little extra special look for school pictures, her first communion, or when she’s acting as a bridesmaid at your BFF’s wedding, this is a great style to choose. It’s simple and elegant, easy to re-create, and looks gorgeous.
The Twist Braid Combo | Cute Girls Hairstyles
This is a really fun way to take a basic French braid and dress it up for a more formal event. I love that it’s less structured than most kids braid styles, and you can easily add a few rhinestone pins or a rhinestone headband to make it extra special.
Pancaked Bun of Braids | Cute Girls Hairstyles
This braided bun hairstyle for kids looks complicated, but I promise you it’s very easy to pull off. All you need is a donut bun maker and you can create the perfect hairstyle for your child’s dance recital.
Double Dutch Lace Braids | Cute Girls Hairstyles
If your child is too old to pull off typical double Dutch braids, this is another timeless half-up look to consider. Perfect for school photos or her first school dance, don’t be afraid to add a ponytail, braid, or bun for a little extra oooompf!
Loop Waterfall Braid | Cute Girls Hairstyles
If you have a straight-haired gal, this is a simple and unique hairstyle to consider, and it is super easy to re-create!
I hope this collection of braid hairstyles for kids, as well as my tips to get your child to sit still long enough to let you style her hair prove useful to you during the school year and beyond. Remember to use distractions and get your child involved, invest in a great detangling spray and brush to make the experience a more positive one for your little one, and exercise a lot of patience!
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Dani is a 30-something freelance writer and social media consultant who has an unhealthy love for makeup, hair, and fashion. She lives with her husband and 6-year-old daughter in Toronto, Canada and hopes to move to a warmer climate someday. Preferably tomorrow.
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