My 5-Year-Old Wants Pierced Ears. Too Soon?

“Honey! What did you do to your ears?” I looked at my four-year-old’s purple and swollen lobes. I tried to touch them but she flinched. I looked down into her watery eyes and then to the fist she clenched in her lap. “Let me see.” She opened her hand to reveal a pair of clip-on earrings she’d filched from her great-grandmother’s jewelry box. “Did you wear them all day?” She nodded sadly and I sighed.


When I thought of the things I would do with my daughter, taking her to get her ears pierced was something I was saving until she turned 10. But with her propensity for all things gold and glittery added to her push to wear earrings, I began to think that, perhaps, I should loosen my arbitrarily chosen age. But, was almost five too young to get holes in her ears?

I did what most modern mothers do when faced with this sort of question. I went to my girlfriends. Spanning the globe and with daughters of their own from infancy to college aged, these women had my back.

“I’ve always known, before I even had kids, that I would wait to pierce ears until my child was old enough to ask for earrings and old enough to take care of them. My six-year-old has asked a couple of times, but she’s nervous about the process itself, so we’re waiting for now. At this point, I’m absolutely fine with her having them pierced when she decides she’s ready.” — Angela

“Kaia was not interested at all until she was five, then she said she would get them for her 6th b-day. The day after her 6th b-day she said, okay, let’s go get my ears pierced. So we went and she asked questions about keeping them clean and how long she had to have her “beginner earrings” in. All in all, because we waited and talked about it and she got to choose the timing, it was a great experience.” –Denette

“I was 13-years-old when I was finally allowed to get my ears pierced — the age my parents thought was old enough to decide if I wanted holes in my ears permanently. And with a daughter currently in elementary school, unpierced, but a devout fan of all things accessory, I think we’ll be waiting until she’s 13 as well. Even though I suspect she’ll think the wait will take forevah!” — Karen

“Phoebe was 3 days short of 5 when she got her ears pierced. She had asked when she was about 4 and I explained the process and what was going to happen and decided she wasn’t ready. My mother-in-law was in town for Phoebe’s 5th birthday and asked Phoebe if she could get her ears pierced for her birthday and at that point Phoebe said she was ready. Phoebe didn’t cry at all.” — Ruth

“Earrings, rather the piercing of the ears, has been somewhat of a rite of passage, a statement of independence in my family. My oldest daughter, Aiyana, couldn’t get her ears pierced until she was 10; it was daddy’s rule for all of the girls. My second daughter, Kaitlyn, got her ears pierced when she was at someone else’s house; she claimed her own independence. During my separation from my now ex-husband, I took Brittany, my third daughter, to have her ears pierced when she was seven; a statement of my own independence. Right or wrong, we all find our own way!” — Chandra

Adrienne pointed me in a direction I had not considered. “Go to a piercer that has experience with kids. The whole process will have less of an impact on their little lobes. It was a silent procedure with a surgical-type needle, which meant no ‘gun’ pop, super clean, and just a great experience overall. Clients and tattoo artists were so supportive and cheered her when she was done.”

“My daughter is eight and does not want to get her ears pierced. I decided ear piercing wasn’t my call to make for either kid at any age. If either wants to, I’m sure we would allow it, but I don’t think they are interested.” — Marian

Armed with this knowledge, I approached Elizabeth about getting her ears pierced for her birthday. She’s over the moon excited and I feel more prepared.

How did you decide when it was time to let your daughter get her ears pierced?