Spa treatments for teens and tweens

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Spa treatments for kids - once unheard of - have become increasingly popular. Frivolous, sure. Expensive, definitely. Can you do it yourself? You bet.

A recent Cranky Consumer story (subscription required) in The Wall Street Journal describes the increasing "kiddie" market for spa services. Andrea Petersen and Miriam Jordan tried five different spas from L.A. to Scotrun, PA where their "young testers" received massages, body scrubs, pedicures and facials using kid-friendly lotions and scrubs in assorted ice cream flavors.

Not surprisingly, the prices started at about $35 for a manicure and ranged up to 3.5 hour packages that include a facial, manicure, pedicure, haircut and make-up application for $193.My son handed me the story. I think he expected that I would squint behind my bifocals at the frivolous waste of money and write one of my rants. He wasn't exactly right. Having grown up with only a brother, he isn't privileged to know what I might have done with a daughter. While it probably wouldn't have included dropping almost $200 at a spa, I actually love the idea of kids experiencing this kind of pampering and getting the message that every once in awhile this is a nice way to enjoy their young bodies.

Most people never did - and never will - have this kind of discretionary money. If we do, we likely have better ways to spend it. Why not, "do it yourself"? Who says your daughter can't have her feet wrapped in warm towels, rubbed with scented cream, and her toenails polished in her choice of a bright summer color? Who says she can't listen to music, lick an ice cream cone and then experience a strawberry-scented facial in the comfort of her own home? You might wrap up the day with a trip to the beauty parlor for a haircut and blow-dry

What about a birthday party set up around a spa theme, maybe even including bringing a hairdresser, facial or pedicure consultant to your home for a two-hour stint?

"In the old days," mothers and daughters planned activities like Halloween costumes together. No one ran out to the store - or ordered from a catalogue - no one dropped $100 on a costume. Maybe you bought the mask. The rest was done from closets and thrift shops. It involved a term that hadn't then been coined yet - quality time.

Do it yourself.
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