Show them by example. The first step in teaching tweens to properly care for their hair is as simple as caring for your own. When they have a good example to follow, it's much easier to get the point across. On the other hand, if your hair is mess, why would they trust that what you have to say about hair care is correct? Anything you are telling them to do is something you should also be doing yourself. My kids already know that if I am telling them something about hair care, I have either been doing that myself with my own hair or theirs. If your family has various hair types, like in ours, make sure they understand which things you cannot do with your own hair, but that are great for theirs.
Always have the proper supplies within reach. It's much easier to keep up a hair care routine if your tween has easy access to the supplies. Don't make her search for the basic supplies needed, like a brush, comb, shampoo, conditioner, or hair accessories. Everything your tween needs to style his hair should be in a convenient location for him. This will avoid frustration for everyone. You may be thinking about hair products that could be toxic. We have a general rule about toxicity in our house. If something's toxic enough that you'd worry about the kids using it without you, it doesn't belong in the house anyway. We generally purchase or make our own hair care products that use only natural and safe ingredients.
Make it a part of the daily routine. There should be a set time for your tween to maintain her hair each morning. She should also know that even if she brushes and styles her hair at that time, there may be extra maintenance throughout the day. Most hairstyles will have to be adjusted at some point during the day. Knowing to do this will also help your tween feel more confident at school and in other public places.
Explain the purposes of each item. While you may think it is obvious, there are some things your tween needs an explanation for. He may know what the item is, but does he know the purpose of it as well as why it needs to be done? For instance, myself and two of the kids use Hollywood Beauty Tea Tree Oil in our hair care routine. For us, it helps keep frizz under control, reduces breakage, prevents dandruff and dry scalp, and more. They may know the routine and that a particular item is part of it, but let them know the reason that routine is in place.
Teach them easy hairstyles. If you expect your tween to maintain proper hair care, simple styles must be taught. Of course you can also teach them elaborate hair styling techniques. But start with the basics and make sure they have plenty to choose from. This makes it easy for them to get ready in the morning. It also will help if their style comes loose at school and they need to improvise. Girls lose their ponytail fasteners often. Make sure they know how to style their hair both with and without accessories. My tweens know how to style their hair so well that they prefer to always do it themselves.
Explain what happens to hair not properly cared for. Not only do tweens need to understand what happens when they style their hair, but they also need to understand what happens when they do it incorrectly. Show them what non-managed hair looks like, if possible. Talk about how people can go bald, get knotted up hair, split ends, and more when the wrong products are used or when nothing is done at all. Have them look in the mirror when they first wake up and ask them if they would go to school that way. If they are homeschooled, like mine, instead ask them if they would go meet their friends that way or go to a sports practice or library like that. When they can visibly compare well kept hair to that which isn't, they may better comprehend why proper hair care is so important.