When Should I Let My Child Pierce Her Ears?
My daughter Dylan started asking, wait… make that begging me to get her ears pierced around age 7. I told her she would have to wait until she was 12. Why? Because I got my ears pierced when I was 12 and it seemed like a perfectly good, completely arbitrary number.
So arbitrary that I ended up letting her do it on her 8th birthday. Which is just a hair shy of 12. Like an entire presidential term. But I didn’t cave to her whining (I swear!). I just knew she was old enough to handle the responsibility and it seemed pointless to make her wait.
So how do you know when your child is ready to pierce her ears?
She really wants to.
For months and months, my daughter talked about getting her ears pierced. Unlike her desire to go bungee jumping which lasted about 4 seconds. (Let’s all be grateful for that.) Make sure it’s not a passing phase for your child as well. I had a passing phase of wanting a tattoo of my sorority Greek letters on my bikini line. Thankfully, I waited a bit and then realized I might not always cherish such a life long tribute to university Greek life on my skin. My point? Make sure your daughter really wants two holes in her ears before you take the plunge. (Also, we use girls in this example, because this story relates to my daughter, but all advice is applicable to both sexes.)
Your child easily gets ready in the morning.
You don’t have to bug her to brush her teeth or get dressed. This one is important. If you still have to nag a child to follow through on everyday personal hygiene, you will loathe trying to get her to clean her ear lobes properly twice a day for several months. And you don’t want to slack on the lobe cleaning because it can lead to painful infections. (Any redness, swelling, pain, itching, or tenderness are signs of a possible infection or allergy and you’ll have to contact your doctor immediately. Choose earrings made of surgical stainless steel, platinum, titanium or 14K gold to hopefully avoid an allergic reaction.)
You want to distract your child from getting a dog.
Why does practically every kid want a dog? Our family is not getting a dog. Letting my daughter get her ears pierced seemed way easier. I don’t have to pick up poop off the ground. Instead I get to help my daughter pick out earrings!
The case for ear piercing at a younger age.
Some moms prefer to get their child’s ears pierced when they are very young. New York mom Amanda Drago got both her kids ears pierced when they were two years old.
“I wanted to get it done before they learned to be afraid of it. I don’t regret it. There were no complications. And I think it is super cute.”
Sounds good in theory but she missed out on all that begging like… “Mom, can I PLEASE get my ears pierced? I’ll never ask for anything again. I PROMISE!”
Okay, my kid is ready to get her ears pierced! Where do I go?
Ask your friends where they got their daughters ears pierced. Some pediatricians will pierce ears. I took my daughter to the popular jewelry chain Claire’s and they did a great job. Sometimes two technicians can pierce both ears at the same time which makes it quicker and less painful. Make sure it’s NOT the technician’s first day on the job (also, confirm the technician is an experienced and trained professional). You want someone who has been doing several piercings a day for a year.
(Update: here’s a link to the American Academy of Pediatric’s advice on ear piercing.)
Published June 25, 2013.
Last updated July 10, 2017.
So what do you think is a good age to let a child pierce her ears?