Paint a Boy Toddler's Toenails?

Updated on June 17, 2013
D.D. asks from Pittsburgh, PA
42 answers

You are paining your toenailes a lovely shade of blue. Your 3 year old comes in, sees you, and very excitedly asks if he can please please have blue toes too. What do you do and why?

I'll tell you what I did in the SWH in a day or two, but I'd like to know your responses first, because I don't want people arguing right and wrong (I don't think there is a right and wrong here), I'd just like to know if my response was really out of the ordinary.

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So What Happened?

Thanks for the different points of view. I appreciate seeing all the responses and your reasoning.

Featured Answers

F.W.

answers from Danville on

Hell...not only would I paint the 3 year old's nails....

I painted Pete's nails on occasion (and he was 60)...bright red! It was a hoot!

Not a hill I would die on...at all

11 moms found this helpful
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J.C.

answers from Anchorage on

Paint them, no matter the color or the age. I don't believe in forcing gender stereotypes onto my kids. That is the same reason why I let my 3 year old son pierce his ears when he asked, I would have said yes to a girl so I will say yes to him. I HATE double standards.

9 moms found this helpful

T.F.

answers from Dallas on

I don't have a son but I don't think there is a right vs wrong here. What's the big deal?

I'd be more worried about those who have issues with it.. Really?? A 3 yr old?? A 3 yr old idolizes mom... Enjoy him because they grow up way too fast.

Updated

I don't have a son but I don't think there is a right vs wrong here. What's the big deal?

I'd be more worried about those who have issues with it.. Really?? A 3 yr old?? A 3 yr old idolizes mom... Enjoy him because they grow up way too fast.

8 moms found this helpful

More Answers

T.S.

answers from San Francisco on

I love Georgia O's answer:
"nail polish is for girls. boys don't wear nail polish"
If people like her ruled the world,
women and minorities would still be considered property,
and the only job my daughters would be allowed to do would be mother, teacher or nurse.
Of COURSE it's okay to paint his toes.
Who cares? He's three. Peer pressure will kick in once he starts school.
But at least he will have a little seed planted that it's okay to like things that girls like.
Just like we teach our girls it's okay to play sports, and go to college, and become leaders.
It goes both ways,
and it all starts with nail polish :-)

17 moms found this helpful
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C.N.

answers from Baton Rouge on

Paint them, of course.

12 moms found this helpful
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B..

answers from Dallas on

Eh, paint them. It really doesn't hurt a thing. People who get hung up on this type if thing, really confound me.

12 moms found this helpful
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M.H.

answers from Washington DC on

Paint them for sure.

9 moms found this helpful

L.A.

answers from Austin on

Yes. of course paint them.

My nephew loved having his nails polished. His mother and father did not make a big deal out of it.

He just graduated from High School. 6ft 1. Quarterback of the football team, Varsity Pitcher, Most popular guy on campus.. All man..

He still let some girls paint his nails at a pool party this year, in school colors. No one said a word that a bunch of the guys did this. Of course we live in Austin, Texas.. Where we do not blink at trivial stuff like this. And we do not judge individuality, we encourage and embrace it.

8 moms found this helpful
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J.K.

answers from Sacramento on

I painted them... and not only blue. Lots of times.

7 moms found this helpful
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L.F.

answers from San Francisco on

No big deal. I have painted my boys toes and fingernails whenever they have asked. They keep it on for a day or two and then they want it off. I don't think it is a big deal at all. Just like letting boys play with dolls or girls play with Gi joe army guys etc.

7 moms found this helpful
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M.S.

answers from Salinas on

He will learn soon enough about gender roles and expectations in our society. I hope you acted like it was nothing weird and just said "of course" and painted his toes. Not a big deal at all.

ETA for Georgia O.: Your boys would only "know" that "Nail polish is for girls. Boys don't wear nail polish." at such an early age because they were TAUGHT that.

7 moms found this helpful
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S.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

Paint them! I have boys and they had finger and toe nails painted when they were little. All they understand is that there is fun colour going on their bodies. It's not a gender/sexuality issue to them, and it wouldn't be to any of their little friends either.

7 moms found this helpful

M.S.

answers from Pittsburgh on

It's a great teaching tool for fine motor skills. My son paints his nails, my nails, my husband's nails. He's been mocked twice in the past 3 years (he's 5 now) for having his nails painted, both times by girls, and we just shrug it off and say "some boys do paint their nails".

7 moms found this helpful
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K.C.

answers from Denver on

I'd paint them. It's fun!

6 moms found this helpful
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H.W.

answers from Portland on

Cautious mom, I would only paint his toenails if I knew he wasn't going to get polish all over the place.:) Picky me!

When Kiddo was 'just' five, he saved up his money to buy some nail polish at the store. (I don't wear any)...Our neighbor was doing her nails while Kiddo was over playing with her daughter and it all ended up in some funky colors! I have no problem with it as long as it's not a mess.Hell, I wear pants, so I'm not sure that something like this can be deemed a 'women only' sort of thing. I also know several manly men who sometimes paint their nails.

In short, who cares? :)~

6 moms found this helpful
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R.M.

answers from San Francisco on

Yes, I would paint my boy toddler's toenails.

6 moms found this helpful
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M.G.

answers from Seattle on

Paint them.

I will always allow my son to wear nail polish or anything else he likes for that matter. In the past I've painted his nails and put makeup on him because he asked for it. My son is 6, nonverbal & autistic. Luckily he does not see the negativity to doing such things that sadly are a part of our society.

6 moms found this helpful

K.I.

answers from Los Angeles on

I have a whole grip of boys! I am a Mom/Auntie to 6 boys...and only 2 out of the 6 ever asked if they could have theirs painted when I was painting mine...I just said yes. It's totally NOT a big deal if you don't MAKE it one!!

Once they got older they realized on their own that it was 'typically' a girl thing and then they didn't like it anymore...once they started school & the girls all developed coodies! Ha!

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M.B.

answers from Austin on

Why not?

My daughter has painted her son's toenails before.... he sees his M. doing things, and he wants to imitate her, also....

No biggie.....

btw... his favorite color right now is pink...... he is 5 1/2..... but he also loves construction vehicles and lots of "boy" things, too!

6 moms found this helpful

B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

My son did this.
I told him boys don't wear nail polish and I didn't want him to get picked on at day care but wait a few days and I'll have something for him.
So I got some glow in the dark nail polish for him.
In plain light you can't see it at all.
But in the dark after you shine a bright light on it - it glows pretty good.
We had a lot of fun with a flash light and his glowing toes!
Everyone got what they wanted and it was a great compromise.

5 moms found this helpful

M.B.

answers from Tampa on

I still paint my 7 year old sons toenails! There's nothing wrong with it! In fact he will paint his sisters nails lol, he more or less paints her feet but hey he tries;)

5 moms found this helpful

M.J.

answers from Milwaukee on

My son turned 4 last week. Today he wanted his done when DD and I were doing ours. He wanted red toenails and purples finger nails - they turned out great :)

5 moms found this helpful

X.O.

answers from Chicago on

Sure, no problem. It is just nail polish, and just on a little toddler. My son (when he was 4) asked me if I would paint his nails, and before I could even make any type of reply he was sure to insert, "I mean a manly color, like blue or orange." How could I deny that? ;-)

4 moms found this helpful
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S.B.

answers from Kansas City on

Paint them! I used to do my little brother's whenever I was doing mine. I just made sure I had "boy" colors like blue or green or whatever so my dad wouldn't freak out that I was painting his little boy's nails. Occasionally I even get my husband to let me paint his toenails, because I think it's fun and he's comfortable enough with himself let me.

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D..

answers from Miami on

Thank you, Mamazita. Ditto all the way.

4 moms found this helpful

S.T.

answers from Washington DC on

i'd show him what other colors i had and ask him which one he wanted!
:) khairete
S.

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C.M.

answers from Chicago on

If they boy is really young I'd go ahead and paint the nails. Who cares? It's fun! No one cares what little kids do.

If the boy was older, like let's say first grade, and he wanted pink sparkly nails, I'd first explain that while it's fine to do at home, the other kids might make fun of him because pink sparkly is usually reserved for girls. Then if he still wanted it, I'd let him.

I don't think there is anything wrong with certain things being for girls and certain things being for boys. I think it's our duty to explain to the child what society believes, I don't think we should hide that. Then if they still want it, then let them do it.

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E.E.

answers from Denver on

Paint them.

With son # 1, my husband was less relaxed, and so I'd tell him if he still wanted painted nails when he was 12, he could have them. But #2 and #3? Just paint them.

# 2 likes trains and trucks and super heroes, and his favorite color is pink, and he likes princesses, and sparkly things. He helped my husband get over his concerns.

ETA: Interesting SWH. I would have said no to eye make-up as well. It has nothing to do with thinking I can control how "masculine" my boys are - it's just that I can see nail polish as a fun goofy thing to do (shoot, that's why I wear it), but eye makeup is about trying to look sexy or striking in some other way. So no. If it seems like sexualizing my child, it's an across the board no.

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B..

answers from Dallas on

A 3 yr old is not a toddler, he is a preschooler.
No, I don't paint his toes but I might find another form of artistic expression for him. Or let him paint my toes.

3 moms found this helpful

S.T.

answers from Houston on

No problem in my book. My toddler son often brushes my make up on while I get ready. I brush most of it off and don't worry about the sparkles on his face since it is hardly noticeable. The other day my husband took the kids out for lunch. Our son was wearing a headband because my stepdaughter had one on. It doesn't bother us simply because he is emulating the people in his life. Do whatever works for your family I say.

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A.J.

answers from Philadelphia on

Great question! My answer is of course paint them! I have to laugh at people who have such issues with this...just like a boy wearing pink! Come on if you think such things are going to make a boy gay you need to read a bit. And besides if it did make them gay would you really care should we not love our children no matter what? I was just reading somewhere that Hollywood men are now wearing nail polish, I was impressed that one of the pics was a movie star wearing bright green nail polish! Soon it will be a trend and no one will think twice!
My son is almost 8 and he often has his toes painted. It makes girls feel special and pretty shouldn't a boy feel that way also? He also is a kid who wears pink and wears it well. A few nights ago he asked to put some of my makeup on and I let him. He didn't like the powders but he tried it out. Will he ask again? Who knows but I won't stop him, I might giggle a little as he looks more like a clown but its a fun time we shared together and that is what counts! Enjoy the fact that he wants to spend time with you and notices the polish!

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T.T.

answers from Washington DC on

Personally, I don't love seeing nail polish on little kids. It's not a gender thing at all - I don't like it on little girls either. Just a personal preference, I like keeping them natural. My friend was babysitting my daughter at her house and painted her toes while I was away. My son saw his sister's toenails and asked to have his painted as well. I did it just that once, because I didn't want to say it was "just for girls." However, I have since told them both that I think nail polish should be for when they are older, just like make-up.

3 moms found this helpful

K.M.

answers from Chicago on

I give him cuticle oil when he covets my painted nails. I am not a fan of nail polish on little kids. If I had different views on nail polish on kids I would probably go for it - but I do not care for polish on kids.

2 moms found this helpful
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V.P.

answers from Columbus on

I would paint his nails. in terms of eye makeup, you could point out that many men wear eye make up for performance (dancers, glam rockers, actors), but most don't every day.

2 moms found this helpful

A.C.

answers from Huntington on

I would paint them. I do not see the big deal. Just the other day, my friend went and got pedicures with her dad for Father's Day and he had his nails painted green :) That is probably not generally what he wears on his toes, but if anyone asks, he can tell them about the great time he had with his daughter getting pedicures for Father's Day. Same thing with your son.
For what its worth, even here in conservative Utah, LOTS of boys wear nail polish.

2 moms found this helpful

S.G.

answers from Grand Forks on

I'm not sure. I guess it would depend on how badly they wanted it. Neither of my boys ever requested this or seemed at all interested. I do see little boys with nail polish quite often (usually little boys with older sisters), so it is not terribly unusual. I would probably try to discourage it, but I'd likely give in before making a huge issue of it.

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S.K.

answers from Houston on

Nope. I wouldn't paint them.

2 moms found this helpful

J.B.

answers from Houston on

I probably wouldn't bc my hubby wouldn't like it. I do let them have a swipe of lipgloss when I am getting ready bc it has virtually no color and they use Chapstick all the time. If my one of my sons wanted some toe nail polish, I would probably just say 'you know what baby, daddy puts shiny clear polish on his toes, how about we do your toes like Daddy?' They would love that, problem solved :).

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M.M.

answers from Detroit on

I paint my son's toenails all the time. Because, really, who doesn't love sparkly blue nail polish??? It's a simple pleasure he probably won't be able to enjoy forever.

He does ask for powder on his face when he sees me putting it on, and I let him do that. I don't wear other makeup, so eye shadow etc. hasn't come up.

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D.J.

answers from Atlanta on

Obviously you painted them and wanted to know what other people think My youngest son just turned 3 and he want to do everything I do. Putting on lipgloss, painting nals, putting on my clothing, etc. I simply tell him NO and that its for girls. If you continue to paint his nails he will grow up thinking there is nothing wrong with it. Do you have a husband? Or is his dad active in his life? Im sure he didnt appreciate it. My huuby would have a fit if I painted my son nails.

1 mom found this helpful
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B.T.

answers from Chicago on

My son asked the same thing. I painted them, but had him take it off before he went to school. No harm done.

1 mom found this helpful

R.X.

answers from Houston on

I give you HIGH 5 for waiting to put in you SWH. You are soooooo right. The mamas would jump on the SWH and totally miss answering the question!

I would do it if I did not see signs of femininity in him.

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