WHPS Blog

How [NOT] to talk to young girls

Written by WHPS Preschool Directors on .

Have you ever told a child: “You look adorable today!” “I love that dress!” or “What a pretty ribbon you’ve got in your hair!” We all do it. But, child development experts caution us about about making frequent references to appearance, especially when speaking to young girls. 

What! Why?
A recent report showed that nearly half of all three to six year old girls worry about being fat. Kids as young as six rank body image among their highest concerns. Study after study proves that girls believe how they look is the key to their self-esteem. They think how they look is who they are. What was your highest concern when you were 6 years old? 

In her book Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, child development expert Lisa Bloom explains that many girls under 12 years old are wearing makeup regularly, and one in four young women say they would much rather win America’s Next Top Model than the Nobel Peace Prize.

Instead of: "You look so cute"

  • Focus on what they are into: their ideas, favorite books, favorite color; their interests over their appearance. 

  • Talk about the last trip you took and ask where their favorite place is to go.

  • Ask about their favorite book and what they liked about it.

  • Read books to your children about powerful and accomplished female figures.

  • Know a police officer, firefighter, doctor, dentist or construction worker who is a female? Make sure your child sees this non-stereotypical representation.

  • See a magazine at the supermarket with a female on the cover? Introduce your child to the contributions to society she made to be placed on that magazine.

  • Watch the WNBA or women’s soccer, not just male-dominated sports. 

  • Here is a great site with a list of picture books, movies, and more.

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