Girl power is unstoppable. It’s up to us—mothers and fathers—to instill this our daughters at a young age. As they grow up, little girls idolize big screen princesses. They play pretend wearing crowns and gowns, with their imaginations burning bright. But they don’t need to be royal to have girl power. Any girl can channel the brave, smart, confident, mindful qualities within herself to be the hero of her own fairytale and help make the world a better place. And as parents, there are ways we can teach them these lessons through daily moments.
Here are some “powers” you can show your daughter she already has:
The power to accomplish goals.
Encourage her to chase her dreams, because nothing is as difficult as it may seem. Does she love art? Sign up for virtual art classes or do directed drawings online. Her pride will develop along with her skills. Ask her, “What’s one thing you want to learn?”
The power to apologize.
When siblings fight, instead of directing her to time-out, use it as an opportunity to practice empathy. Give her a hug, acknowledge the feelings that led up to the event, and then have her write an “I’m sorry” letter. Ask her, “If someone hurt your feelings, what would you want them to do to make you feel better?
The power of imagination.
Put on some music let her pretend she’s a rock star, dancing and singing on stage. She’ll not only dream big, but get some exercise. Ask her, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
The power of courage.
Let her know it’s OK to have some fear, but by taking baby steps, she can learn to enjoy things that might initially seem scary. Ask her, “How can I help you feel better about this?”
The power to have fun without technology.
Pre-pandemic times, this might have included attending dance or yoga class. But while we’re quarantining at home, you can go on scavenger hunts in your house, play hide and seek, build with Legos, paint, or act out any of the games the characters on Bluey play. Make TV black-out times or remove the TV from your playroom so it becomes an “imagination room.” Ask her, “What’s something we can do together that would make today really fun?”
The power to take care of animals.
Adopt a pet from the shelter. You’ll not only save a life, but your daughter will learn to nurture other living creatures. Tell her that animals need us to love and protect them and they will show her their appreciation by wagging their tails and covering us in kisses! Ask her to recall acts of kindness she’s done recently.
The power to express her feelings.
Foster your emotional connection with your daughter and hug her while she cries it out. Let her know it’s OK to feel sad sometimes. Tell her you understand what it feels like to be upset and you cry sometimes, too. But then, you feel much better after talking to someone about it. Every night, ask her to tell you her favorite and hardest parts of the day.
The power to be brave in new situations.
Maybe it’s returning to school, or going to a store or doctor’s appointment while wearing a mask. She’ll feel empowered afterwards. Later, tell her that not only are you proud of her, but she should be proud of herself. Ask her to recall other times she was brave.
The power to learn.
Whether she’s learning virtually or in the classroom, reading a book, or doing at-home science experiments, remind her that she’s building essential life skills. Don’t just tell her she’s doing a great job. Tell her you can see how hard she is working and that all her effort is paying off.
The power to make her own choices.
Let her pick out her own clothes, even if they are mismatched. If she complains about dinner, don’t force her to eat it. Remind her she has control over her own body, not others. Ask her what she would like to eat.
The power to pamper herself.
There’s always so much to do, but everyone needs time to rest their mind. One fun way to practice self-care is to do at-home mani-pedis or mini meditations. When she’s feeling overwhelmed, ask her if she would like to take some time to refresh and reset. Perhaps go for a walk. A great conversation starter is to ask her to tell you her favorite qualities about herself.
The power of diverse friendship.
By making friends with children of different backgrounds, interests, or learning abilities, your daughter will learn that everyone is unique in their own way and that makes it more fun when they play. Teach her to love herself, even if she is different from others. Ask her some things that she has learned from her friends.
The power to make the best of her blessings.
She doesn’t need to live in a castle or have every toy on TV. But she can appreciate and make the most of what she has. Let her know that there are always people that have more than us, but there are also people that have less. That’s why we donate clothes and toys. Ask her to tell you the ways she feels blessed.
The power to be hardworking.
Let her help make pizza for dinner, wash the dishes, clear the table, or feed the pets. Then, give her a tiny allowance to save for anything she wishes. Ask her to set a goal for something she would like to buy and then save money to make the purchase.
The power to be the hero of her own fairytale.
She may not be a princess by birth, but remind your daughter she is certainly one of the most awesome girls on Earth. She can accomplish goals, overcome obstacles, and make a difference in the world just by giving it a whirl. Show her that she has the power to write her own fairytale and be the hero of it, too. Ask her, “What does girl power mean to you,” and “What does being a hero mean to you?”
When I wrote Princess Genevieve: The Hero with Girl Power for my daughter, she was five-years-old. I asked her what girl power means to her, and she told me, “Girl power means if you are afraid of something you get the courage to do it and make your dreams come true. I'm a writer, I'm a scientist, and I'm an artist." Those are some big shoes to fill, but even now at six years-old, I see her shattering that glass slipper.