Short Toddler Hair Problems: Can I Put It in a Ponytail?

A while ago, I wrote about hairstyles for little girls. I was reminiscing about trying to put my eldest’s hair up when she was a toddler. Ah, those were the days.

Now, she’s a tween who does it all herself. Well, sometimes she asks for assistance if she has tangles, but other than that, she puts her hair up the way she likes it. She even does her sister’s hair!

But both of my girls have really long hair. Like it’s a struggle even to trim it because they don’t want short hair.

Toddler hair is almost always short. It takes a while to grow to length. For Black girls, it can take longer, too, coupled with the difference in how that hair type tends to behave. So for this post, I’d love to help any mama out that wants to put a ponytail on her little toddler with short hair.

Can short hair be used for a ponytail?

In short, if you’ll pardon the pun, yes, short hair can be used for a ponytail. Just know it’s not going to look like a horse’s tail. They may look more like sprouts or little mini buns, or you may have to settle for a low ponytail style, but it can be done.

How do you tie a ponytail with short hair?

As for ponytail hairstyles for Black toddlers with short hair, you don’t want to cause damage that can ruin hair growth. It’s best to keep things simple for your daughter’s hair health. That said, a strand of two twists or making little finger coils will work regardless of the length of her hair. Yes, even if it’s short.

baby's first cute ponytail
P.C.: Flickr!

For other types of hair that are curly, wavy, or straight as an arrow, you should also read my tips for styling girl hair, so you don’t cause damage.

The easiest way to do it is to simply tie it into a ponytail at any appropriate height on the head, which will depend on your child’s hair length. I also advise using hair ties that won’t cause damage to the hair (I talk about that in this other post too). That’s key for all hair types, especially ponytail hairstyles for Black toddlers with short hair.

You can also fake a longer look by dividing your daughter’s hair into 3 sections, front to back. The middle section will have the most hair, while the sections from the forehead and the nape of the neck will be smaller than the middle one but equal to one another. You’ll put the middle one in a ponytail, then pull the others around it to fake a fuller ponytail.

However, be advised that your child might not just sit still through this. And that’s ok! We should never force our kids into styles they don’t want. We want them to enjoy having their hair styled, even if it is short.

The way to achieve that is to make it fun and painless. So if your child gets fussy and upset and just won’t sit still, leave them alone. They will be ready in their own time. It helps if they see you styling your own hair.

Remember, like mama like daughter. If you want your short-haired toddler girl to want her hair in a ponytail or any other style, she will be more likely to enjoy it if it’s a style you often wear.

Which haircut is best for a short ponytail?

For any type of hair, there needs to be a little length to it to make a short ponytail. That said, if your child’s hair looks like it’s in more of a pixie cut, you’ll need to wait until it grows out some more.

If your child has natural curls, especially if they’re at the shoulder or almost that length, this is perfect for those darling short ponytails.

A one-length bob will also go into a short ponytail well. And girls with bangs and more length (even to the base of the neck) will be able to get those short ponytails.

Experiment and see by gently pulling it into a ponytail in front of a mirror for your child and asking her what she thinks. “Do you want Mama to put your hair up like this?” If she’s enthusiastic, go for it!

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