Braids are DEF the way top go. I don’t suggest you get a relaxer.
To take care of them, I always say Oil your scalp daily and wrap your hair every night. When your edges/new growth start to grow in brush them up each morning. Also use hairspray. I recommend olive oil. Another tip is to use a silk scarf/head wrap. Cotton bandannas adsorb the moisture and dry out your hair. Also wear a shower cap in the shower.