More and more, little girls are participating in activities that their own mothers might not have experienced until they were adults. It is not unusual to walk into a salon and be seated next to a girl whose twiggy legs barely reach the pedicure tub or to be dining at a fancy restaurant near a second grader or to encounter a 6-year-old in the gym locker room.
Places once considered adult domains — spas, gyms, restaurants and nail and hair salons — are increasingly becoming destinations for little girls and their mothers.
A friend said she has noticed more little girls coming in with their mothers to her nail salon, picking out a color and sitting back for the pampering.
“My friend has a niece who is 7, and she was telling me that every Saturday they get manicures. She has a design on her index finger.”
The trend is driven in part by a lack of time. Hectic scheduling for parents and children alike makes it challenging for mothers to carve out time for bonding activities.
“Between her activities, my work, you end up trying to fit it all in,” said Amal, as she and her daughter Mona sat in the spa’s cafe. “We’re all so busy. Here you’re out of the house so you really can focus on each other. You’re spending time together.”
The trend is also the result of what psychologists say is an emphasis on precociousness.
Today’s teens are mature teens, who are interested in some of those very grown-up activities.
But to bond at these places requires disposable income as some of the nail bars are quite costly. Still, it is possible to get an AED 40 manicure at a local salon.
But is it healthy for young girls to be dipping a toe into traditionally adult activities? What rites of passage will they have left to look forward to?
Mothers seeking girly time with their daughters at the spa, salon or gym say they have concluded that the benefits — intimate conversations, shared relaxation, lessons about hygiene, escape from school and family woes — outweigh the potential pitfalls.
Besides, they say, those activities are not the only time they spend with their daughters. There are sleepovers and museum trips and hours playing with the family pet, too.
Psychologists say the assimilation of young girls into adult realms is not a cut-and-dried issue, especially when the activity involves beauty.