Pedicures for preschoolers? Or even pre-teens?

Yesterday, Anna and I walked by a salon full of preschoolers getting mani-pedis. She asked for one. I said no.

There’s just something uncomfortable about a grown woman kneeling at the feet of a little girl, buffing and polishing. It just doesn’t feel right.

Am I making too much of this? Or is this just the sort of ‘small’ thing that can actually mean a lot in this day and age, when little girls and grown women sometimes seem to forget who is who?

I’ve painted Anna’s nails for her at home.  Her requests for polish seem to go along with her forays into my shoe closet and make-up bag, something she asks to do about once a month. It’s a controlled experiment: I only let her use the palest pink polish, and the only people applying it are me and her babysitter.

It is something about looking like me: my toes are always painted red. It doesn’t have anything to do with princesses. Her idea of royalty  is still pretty basic, shaped by the princesses she knows. Princesses, for example, wear dresses and crowns. They marry princes. They are good and kind. All of this is damaging in its own way, of course; it just doesn’t include make-up or nail polish. Yet.

Help me work this one out. What would you do?

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Published in: on July 5, 2011 at 6:02 AM  Comments (5)  
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  1. Where we used to live they had a little butterfly pedicure chair in the salon where I would get my nails done. Mums would bring there little girls in there all the time. I meant to take my daughter but never got around to it before we moved. She’ll be 5 in Sept but I’m dying to have a mummy/daughter pedicure with her. I paint her toenails all the time at home, she’s such a girly girl.

    And, if you have any suggestions on a salon that does have little pedicure chairs in SD, I’d love to hear them :). Not that I want this to be a regular thing, but I think for a special treat such as a birthday.

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Tonya! I actually don’t know anywhere in San Diego …

  3. This question makes me glad I have boys! I have no idea, but I agree with you. I think painting kids’ nails is fine, but the salon pedicure is unnecessary. But once in a while? Who knows.

  4. If you’re worried that the child sitting in the chair is learning to look down on an adult because they are providing a service to them, I don’t think it’s the act of getting a pedicure you have to worry about- it’s what the parent is teaching the child about the value of being human. I’m teaching my daughter that all people are equal, regardless of things like jobs, so that she’s not above or beneathe anyone else. When I take her to get a pedicure, it’s simply a fun bonding experience for us. I really hope that it’s the same for all the other little girls in the salon, too.

    • Your comment reminds me that we’re surrounded by people offering us services all the time — and that we offer services back, in various ways. I like the idea of helping her see the world as a social world with an exchange of services, rather than simply as a commercial world where we services = money; I think it can go deeper than the simple economic model. Yet, i think I’ll wait a while before addressing it with Anna. At four, the subtleties would be hard to convey. In her world every time she sees someone kneeling she thinks it’s a prince proposing to a princess. Which has its own pitfalls …


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