When you make the decision to have your child’s ears pierced, knowing exactly what to expect can eliminate some of the anxiety for both the child and their parents. Having your ears pierced can be a little stressful, especially to a young child. It’s a good idea to try to make the experience of having their ears pierced as comfortable and un-scary as possible.
If the child you are taking to get their ears pierced is still an infant, it is likely that you will be asked to provide proof that the child’s immunizations are up to date. If they are not, it is possible that you will be turned away until your child is older. Call first to find out what the requirements are at the location where you are planning to get your child’s’ ears pierced. Be sure that you are comfortable with your decision for ear piercing involving a child this young. Although the pain of having your ears pierced fades before long, it is quite painful, especially for a tiny baby. Also, the chance of developing an allergy to the piercing studs used is higher in infants.
When it comes to toddlers and preschoolers, I can say from experience as someone who once worked at a jewelry store where I did ear piercings myself, that the event can either prove to be very traumatic, or seemingly, no big deal. Some five year olds will scream in terror and pain from the moment they come in, and some two year olds will hop right up on the stool and hardly bat an eye when their ears are pierced. It depends on the child, the way in which they’ve been prepared for their ear piercing, and the individual who is performing the piercing.
Older children will likely handle the experience quite well, even though there may be a few tears when the ears are first pierced. But again, the reality of ear piercing is that it hurts. It hurts a lot. Although, the pain does begin to fade within the first couple of minutes, and you will likely find that within five minutes of having their ears pierced, your child will be happily admiring their new earrings in every surface that will yield a reflection!
Try to explain as much as you can to the child what the experience of having their ears pierced will be like. Let them know that the person piercing their ears will first put a cold liquid on their ears with a cotton ball, and this will not hurt. I always was very honest with my children about the pain involved. I never tried to trick them into believing that it would not hurt. Not all parents handle this the same way. One way is not necessarily any more “right” than the other, but I wouldn’t think that it’s ever really a good move to deceive your child especially when there is going to be some pain involved. Trust is a big deal. If you choose to explain to your child that there will be some pain involved, a good way to help them understand what the pain will be like, is to pinch their ears a bit. If you tell the child you are going to help them to understand what having their ears pierced will feel like, and then apply pressure to the ear lobe in this way for a few seconds, you are giving your child a fair assessment of what to expect. Although the actual piercing will obviously hurt more, there is an immense feeling of pressure that goes with it, and so it actually will feel similar to what you told them it would feel like. You can then explain to the child that the person piercing their ears will use a special tool (don’t call it a gun, as it is so frequently referred to, this will only frighten the child) that helps put the earrings into their ears. Tell the child that the ear piercing tool will make a clicking sound when it puts the earrings into their ears.
Remember, if you do decide to let your child know that having their ears pierced will hurt, you can quickly emphasize just how quickly that pain begins to fade. It really does fade fast, leaving the ears almost numb for quite a while. Neither one of my daughters cried for even one full minute after having their ears pierced. By the time three minutes had passed, they were fine and happy and bouncy, back to their regular little selves.
A really fun place for children to go to have their ears pierced, is Claire’s Boutique. There is a Claire’s in almost every mall I’ve ever been to, and if you need to locate one, just look them up on the web. Their shops are colorful and fun-looking, with lots of items intended for young children. The people working there generally have a great deal of experience in piercing ears, particularly those of children, and I have found them to be caring and skilled. Most often, you can call ahead and ask for a time to bring your child in when there will be two employees to help pierce your child’s ears. This way, both ears can be pierced at the same time, and the child does not have to endure having them pierced one after the other. This service is worth waiting for, so do all that you can to schedule your child’s appointment to have their ears pierced when this service is available to you.
Once the child’s ears are pierced, you will need to take special care to keep them clean. There is a special ear cleaning solution for newly pierced ears, and you will need to follow the directions noted on the bottle. It is not difficult to care for newly pierced ears properly, but it is important to be consistent. The last thing you want is for your child to develop an infection and have no choice but to remove the new earrings, which will allow the holes to close. Encourage the child not to touch their earrings and newly pierced ears, as this increases the risk of introducing bacteria which could lead to infection. As a rule, you will want to leave the earrings in constantly for the first 6 weeks, at which time you may change the earrings. However, it is a generally accepted guideline that some kind of earrings need to be kept in the newly pierced ears consistently for the first year.