Is it ever OK for someone else to paint your toddler’s nails?

If your 2-year-old girl (or boy) came home from nursery with nail varnish on – and no one had asked you if that was OK first – would you mind?

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As a dedicated make-up wearer myself, with a dressing table jam-packed with lotions, potions and every kind of cosmetic known to womankind including (natch) about 27 pots of nail varnish, it’s no surprise that my daughter, now 4, LOVES make-up already.

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I’m happy for her to mess with mine (the cheap stuff, obvs) and have bought her a few little fun play make-up sets to experiment with.

And I do remember – when she was probably around 2 and a half years old (she might have been 3, but only just) – her coming home from nursery with nail varnish on. I can’t remember exactly what colour it was the first time but I’m sure it would have been a sugary-pink with perhaps some flecks of glitter.

On days that followed, it was blue, and – one time I remember in particular – BRIGHT red, which, I must admit, shocked me just a little. But, most of the time, I was fine with it: she loved wearing it and I could imagine that painting her nails was a lovely bonding thing to do with her key worker.

The nail-varnish-thing-at-nursery just happened, and it went on regularly (every week) but, since those days, I’ve had chats with mums and dads and have watched their faces DROP when I tell them about it.

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“Of all the things my wife might get worked up about, someone else painting our child’s nails is one of the big ones,” a MFM dad told me. “There’s no way she’d let that lie.”

Another member of our MFM team – who’s not actually a mum (yet) – agrees. She says there’ll be no letting her child wear nail varnish, or any other make-up, until her child’s much, MUCH older than 2, and she’d be shocked if a day carer decided to do it without asking.

I was quite surprised at the strong feelings around this topic: should I have been annoyed that I was never asked? Why does it rile parents so much?

Is it precisely because they weren’t asked? Did they set an age limit at which their child can wear make-up and doing it without permission has meant the doors have been flung open when they didn’t want them to be?

Since my little one started having her nails done, one thing’s for sure: there’s no going back. And now she’ll grab a pot and paint them herself.

Word of advice? If you DO you have an issue with make-up before a certain age, it might be worth bringing it up with anyone you might leave your toddler with before someone else sets the agenda for you.

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