How to Give a 3-Year-Old a Pedicure

Only an idiot would attempt to give a 3-year-old a pedicure.

I say this as someone who does it all the time. And time and time again, this exercise in parental dysfunction morphs into one of those “If you give a pig a pancake” type fiascos in which the objective becomes increasingly maddening, messy and involved the longer it goes on.

Still. I keep doing it. I don’t know why. I guess I’m one of those dreamers who just wants my precious little angel to have shiny, pretty toe nails. Is that so wrong? I keep holding out hope that one day I’ll be able to paint her feet without smudging, streaking or whimpering (June has been known to whine, too).

Admittedly, my method is still in the beta phase of development. Heck, it’s really not much of a method, but a hodge podge of maneuvers and ploys to get her to sit still for 20 minutes. Impossible, in other words.


  • Let the Child Select His or Her Own Color 1 of 8

    This makes the child feel important, like they have some control over their appearance. (Ha! Ha! Yeah, right! It's Holly Hobbie town over here in Virginia!)  

    I gave June a choice between purple and....purple.

  • What Do You Know? 2 of 8

    She chose purple and....purple!

  • Buy Decent Polish 3 of 8

    My favorite nail polish is OPI. I like the way it goes on without streaking or dribbling. But plenty of drug store brands are great too. 

  • Do it Outside, Preferably on the Front Porch 4 of 8

    Only a crazy person -- **cough, cough, me, cough, cough** -- would attempt to paint a toddler's toes indoors. I'll never get that red streak out of my couch! IDIOT!

  • Come Armed with Books — a Lot of Them 5 of 8

    You have to engage in a little toddler math here. It takes roughly 20 minutes for polish to fully dry. June plows through books at a rate of about 1 per minute. To keep her occupied (that is, still) for a full 20 minutes requires at least 20-25 books. 

  • Or Forget the Books 6 of 8

    ...and bust out the iPad, i.e. mommy's instant placation device!

  • Strongly Discourage Ankle Crossing 7 of 8

    This is the part where you'll have to physically hold the child's feet as she plays the iPad waiting for the color to dry . Otherwise, she will forget about the lengths you're trying to go to to give her pretty toes and try to cross her ankles; instant smudging. Whimpering ensues. It's here June asks me why I'm crying.

  • Prepare to be Disappointed by the Results 8 of 8

    This is my lesson in how to give a 3 year old a pedicure. I made no claims about it actually looking good.  Maybe someday...




Article Posted 3 years Ago
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