Spa Day as Child's Play?

littlegirlpedicure.jpgI might be the only one, but I haven’t taken my daughter to the spa. And I don’t plan to.
This notion I realize is passé. Mother/daughter duos have become a common scene in nail salons across the nation. Everyone is doing it or has done it.

This curious human behavior, though, is a relatively recent phenomenon. I became aware of the mani/pedi seeking mother/daughter duos about a decade ago when, on rare occasions, I was able to escape from my home. My escape was only possible during the two hours a day my child was in pre-school, and in that time I had to complete all my household chores, run countless errands and do the weekly food shopping. But if I could squeeze together enough spare minutes (perhaps two or three times a year) I could stop at the nail salon to get a pedicure.

I first witnessed the incident that was to become a trend, when reclined in a cushiony black, leather chair, feet soaking, eyes closed, enjoying the low hum of bubbling water and shuffling flip flops, I heard someone scream my name. I shot up from my semi-conscious state, lurched forward and searched for my child. Then I remembered I was alone. In a nail salon. Getting a pedicure.

Over at the nail station a little girl about the age of my pre-school daughter shrieked my name again. But she wasn’t yelling for me. She was calling to her own mother, who sat at the next station receiving a manicure. With freshly polished nails, the mother was unable to tend to her child, but the Korean women who ran the salon were eager to keep the child, who was well behaved but had a smeared fuchsia fingernail, appeased and amused.

Sadly, the women are more than willing to accommodate anyone who walks through their salon doors, and that’s precisely why legislation governing patrons’ behavior at nail salons needs to be introduced. Clearly, instituting laws concerning the age at which citizens can receive such services are imperative as people have continually proven themselves to be unaware or incapable of reasonable behavior.

It’s not that the children are necessarily ill behaved. And it isn’t just that salons serve as an oasis for grown women seeking momentary respite from their increasingly overwhelming lives. No, the need for legislation is simple. Kids don’t belong there.
The first time I got my nails done professionally I was exactly 27. I know because it was the day after I got engaged. I showed up to work ready to flaunt my new, sparkling finger when my boss caught sight of my stubby, unpolished nails and promptly sent me across the street for a manicure.

The thing is no one needs a manicure or pedicure, and this is particularly true for children under the age of 17. What dried up, scaly skin could they have? They’re babies, and the service is meant for grown women. Kids receiving spa treatments just doesn’t seem kid-like to me.

Do you take your daughter to the nail salon?

(Photo: Flickr/Dplanet)

Click here to sign up for Baristanet's free daily emails and news alerts.


  1. I would love to take my daughter to the nail salon because I haven’t been in almost two years and my feet are pretty darn gross. I wouldn’t, however, not because it’s gauche or horrid or whatever – but simply because I wouldn’t expose her to the fumes that I’m willing to drink in as I get my own toes worked on.
    Speaking of which, I saw this on one of the news aggregator sites. Maybe Gothamist:
    Now THAT’s gross.

  2. “No, the need for legislation is simple. Kids don’t belong there.”
    I agree that kids don’t belong there, but for legislation purposes, I think you need to offer some good reasons. I mean, kids go everywhere these days, even bars. We’re banning them from nail salons but they’re allowed in taverns?

  3. I don’t necessarily patronize nail salons, as I have other things to spend my money on. However, for those that do, well, what’s the matter with a mother/daughter spa day? I realize the writer was attempting to “escape” her own tots (and more power to her!), but I don’t see the need to tie up an already over-burdened government system with something as “trivial” as “NO CHILDREN ALLOWED IN NAIL SALONS” legislation.
    Maybe there’s the possibility of having a nail salon worker make a house call? Or, maybe it’s as simple as finding a salon that already prohibits patrons bringing their children?
    Just my humble two cents…

  4. Schooled,
    That may win the prize for gross. This is pretty gross too:
    I’m not a big fan of kids in a salon either, although I broke my rule once when we were trying to get my oldest to stop sucking her thumb. After she stopped for two weeks, we promised a trip to get her nails painted. It worked.
    Once, when my youngest was 5 months old, I finally got out to treat myself to a pedicure and get time away from my baby. I was sitting there with eyes closed enjoying a pedicure and quiet time, when in comes a woman with a newborn in a stroller, who sits next to me. The baby starts to cry and the women in the salon start rocking him trying to calm him down while Mom got her toes painted. The baby cried the entire time. It was awful.

  5. MM – for the very same reason we do – to be pampered and spoiled and because if feels good.
    I’ve taken my daughter a few times for a special occassion (graduation, wedding) but not on a steady basis.

  6. I brought my daughter once as a special treat after she had a stay at the hospital. We got a few sidelong glances and I felt a little uncomfortable I must admit. She really loved the fancy design they put on her big toes, though, and I really don’t have that strong of an opinion on the matter–NBD as a very special treat, I guess. I saw some tweens getting a pedi the other day and they made me laugh because they were so giggly. And then I just tuned them out and read about Angelina.

  7. I agree that kids in nail salons make me raise my (non-waxed) eyebrows–but maybe the solution is to only allow them in at certain hours/days?
    Even though I wouldn’t expose my daughter to the fumes and chemicals, I do remember going with my mom to her beauty parlor (!) on a couple of occasions and being allowed to have a manicure. I was probably 8-10 years old, though–not 4–and while I applaud moms who need a break, I don’t think the owners of the salons are thinking about their other patrons when they allow them in all the time.

  8. It is the same as restaurants, the movies or anywhere else – if the kids can behave then great and welcome. If they can’t – shrieking across a room wouldn’t be an example of can’t – then they shouldn’t be there.
    If this legislation would include the offending parents paying for my mani/pedi, movie ticket or meal then I’m all for wasting the governments time.
    But it shouldn’t have to be legislation. It should be common manners and good sense. Too bad it isn’t.

  9. Annie –
    first, you raised your daughter properly and she knows how to behave. 🙂
    second, there’s a huge difference between a young lady of 13 and a pre-schooler screaming while others are trying to relax. Parents of little ones: If you don’t have a babysitter, stay home! That’s what I did.

  10. MM, my daughter was 6. Young, yes, but she was quiet, respectful and very appreciative. That was about a year ago, though, and she has asked me for another about a dozen times since then, which has driven me a little crazy. Moderation and manners are what’s important, I think.

  11. Wow, uptight much? I’ve taken my daughter (3 1/2) several times to the nail salon. It is a special treat for her and she understands that it is something special. She sits quietly and extremely still so as not to smear her nails (just as anyone else should) and is much more adorable to watch in her glowing excitement over her sparkly nails than the “mature” women who tend to prattle on and on at volume 10 over their taxes, teenagers and book club as they receive their pedicures.
    Lighten up — as long as a child is well-behaved, their half hour of girly time isn’t hurting anyone.

  12. I think that ‘training’ your young one to have $30 manicure/pedicures is CRAZY!
    They should wait till they have to EARN $30 before they are even allowed into a Nail Boutique.
    Sure we love to be pampered and the kids do, too. But that entitlement thing has to slow down somewhere.
    Make them earn the dough before they spend it!

  13. I completely disagree that it’s wrong to bring your little girl to the salon. My daughter has been coming with me for pedicures only as a special treat since she was 4 — it only costs me $12-15 dollars for her and the bonding we share is invaluable.
    I will NEVER forget the first time I brought her and she sat next to me with her tiny feet soaking, looked over at me and whispered, “I LOVE you” as if I had just given her the most amazing toy on earth. In between visits I give her a pedicure at home — I soak her feet, rub on cream, play like she’s the mommy — and she loves being pampered! Then, of course, I have to do her brother (clear nail polish only!)
    Again, it’s a reward, a special treat – and if she bothered anyone or misbehaved she would not be so lucky.
    I also will say, she sucked her fingers until she was in her third year — the dentist told us it was time to break that habit — the way we did it was quite by accident — she had her nails painted at a bday party and I told her it would make her really sick if she sucked & swallowed the paint. Worked like a charm – literally never sucked her fingers again.
    It is a treat, but for me it’s a very worthwhile splurge.

  14. I think the spas should either advertise themselves as “child friendly”, that they have specific times or days of the week where children under 15 are welcome, or specifically that they don’t want young children coming.
    My wife has stopped going to at least two salons that I know of because unruly children seemed to be regulars.

  15. For the reasons listed above, I will continue to have “the girl” come to my estate and give me my mani/pedi.
    I do leave the “proper grooming” to the butler…

  16. I agree, unruly kids should not be allowed to stay. But my girl has never made a peep — she sits there grateful for the treat & special ‘me’ time with mommy (me too)And it does NOT cost that much — 12 dollars once in a blue moon is not outrageous

  17. Well-behaved kids belong everywhere, and are truly a pleasure to have around. Obnoxious kids (and parents) aren’t.
    I take my gorgeous little man (yes, boy) for a pedicure once in a while. He loves it and I love having him with me. His behavior is better than most adults I see in the nail salon.

  18. Sort of off topic but my sister in CA contacted MRSA (antibiotic resistant flesh eating bacteria) from a leg wax. It’s pretty scary and could lead to a life time of problems if she doesn’t beat this. I would not bring my children to a salon for fear of exposing them to something like that. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I’ll be getting my nails done any time soon.

  19. I have a 2 yr old and no way would she come with me to the nail salon. This is my time and my time only!!

  20. Cammyspot, I couldn’t agree more. Cute as they may be, nothing worse than being subjected to chatty tots during “my time”.

  21. It’s interesting that everyone thinks their child is an exception. Sorry, but there really is no such thing as a well mannered 2 or 3 year old – at least not for more than a few minutes at a time. There are way too many kids being treated as though they are their mom’s and dad’s best friends. They are not little adults and not everyone paying for a service thinks it’s cute to be disturbed. I don’t bother to go to spas but I do ask to be seated somewhere else if I’m put next to small children when I go out to eat. No offense, but part of what I pay for when I go out to eat is not just the food, it’s the experience. I’ll bet a lot of women feel the same way about spas.

  22. I take my 4 yr old to the nail salon quite often, sorry to anyone I may have offended. I work full-time outside of the home and I do treat myself to weekly manicures. I’d say about two times a month I bring my daughter with me to get her nails done. She never shrieks and in general, is very well behaved. If she’s not, my husband will come and get her. Same for restaurants, if she’s having a moment, we take her outside. I don’t think well behaved children should be banned from salons, but parents need to be respectful of the other patrons, just like you hope they would in a restaurant, movie, etc. Do you want to ban children from establishments like that?

  23. And I’ll say it again-
    You are teaching your kids to spend so much money every month as if everyone is entitled to a manicure and/or pedicure.
    I bet when these kids grow up a mani/pedi will be only $100.
    Way to go Moms.

  24. My 5-year-old has never been to a spa (in no small part because I don’t think my wife or I has ever been to one either), but I think the key is what veruka75 says above. We’ve certainly gone to movies, stage shows, concerts (both kid-centered and not), and the understanding is always that if she starts causing any sort of significant problem, one of us will take her out into the lobby.
    I don’t think a straight ban makes a lot of sense from a legal OR a business standpoint. Now, the idea someone had about the spa posting kid-friendly hours (or “grownups-only” hours) is probably a good thought.

  25. I don’t take my 2-year-old to the spa. I don’t even take me to the spa. I wish I had time, but I don’t.
    By that I’m not saying I’m against a quiet child being taken out for a treat. It doesn’t teach them to waste money, as “frustrated” keeps suggesting and a half hour of breathing chemicals will not kill them any faster than raising them this close to a very over-packed city.
    This is certainly not a matter for legislation. I am so unbelievably sick of the government meddling in private matters – I cannot even fathom legislation preventing a parent from treating their child to a bonding experience, no matter how frivolous.
    We have bigger issues in this world, people – abuse and neglect and poverty. This article vapid and ridiculous at best. Each time I read this type of so-called journalism, I can’t help but be reminded of the old adage: do not speak unless you can improve the silence.

  26. Just FYI in Jersey, Nail Salons are not considered “Spas!” — People, come on!
    A spa is a fancy quiet place (like that place in the Sienna or at the Short Hills Hilton) where you get massages and a white fluffy robe to change into.. Children are not a good fit for those places..
    Nail places are like going to the equivalent of the village green where you can catch up with people, or a Starbucks, CVS or the gas station — nothing too fancy, and you get done what you need to get done fast and don’t expect some spa-like atmosphere!
    I love seeing little girls (probably 3 and up) getting nails done with mom.. start them early! If they are poorly behaved, well — won’t be the first time you see it!!

  27. Maybe they can have a special place for kids to get their nails done so my pampering siesta is not disturbed as it almost always is.
    My salon has a “no kids” policy and despite that people still bring their ‘lil screechers
    (I thinkg you know the butt clenching screech only produced by those under age 4 to which I refer) anyway. Last time I was there one had to be physically removed by the father and proceeded the screeching, crying rampage directly outside of the front door where I, and others existing then had to step over said offender.
    It’s time for my weekly pedi, I think my dogs need one too…

  28. The next time you moms bring your sons (or daughters) to the barber you’ll know exactly how every man in the shop feels. The barber shop is like the fortress of solitude to a man. There’s barely any talk and none above a half whisper. It’s the most peaceful place on Earth. When you come in with your pride all of that is broken as you and your kids go about your business of playing and talking on cell phones and making all manner of noise while every man in the place is thinking “SHUT UP ALREADY!!!” The only one who’s delighted to see you is the barber because he loves the revenue.
    For this reason, no one would ever seriously suggest that you or your kids should be banned from the barber shop. Considering the astronomical rent for the store front, you are a big part of the reason the barber stays in business.

  29. I’ve noticed the trend myself and try to avoid places that cater to children. But it’s tough as the large number of nail salons in town have created ridiculous competition and very low prices; it makes it hard for them to say no to their customers.
    From a generational perspective, it is a bit strange to see young children getting manicures or pedicures. My mom wouldn’t let me get my ears pierced until I turned 21, (and that was just one hole!) and I never remember going with her to the salon. I wish I could eliminate the number of services I need to get – between hair cuts, colors, manis-pedis, it’s like I’m stuck on this treadmill of “necessary” expenditures. I envy the freedom of children!

  30. I was just kidding about the legislation.
    Beepbop, thank you.
    Jerseygurl, that’s what I’m saying.

  31. 34 posts, Stacey–pretty impressive. Underage mani/pedis is a hot button issue in these parts. Who knew.

  32. If any legislation needs to be written, it’s to specifically prohibit that sweaty, stinky, icky man who works out on the morning inbound train. The INITIATIVE FOR NO EXERCISING ON PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION (INEPT)!

Comments are closed.