Looking back, what do you know now that you wish you’d known sooner? What do you still not know and wish someone had taught you? We all want what’s best for our girls, and we do the best that we know how. Young children’s brains are little sponges, soaking up everything they experience. Teach your daughters what they need to know while they’re still young, and they’ll thank you when they reach your age!
1. They may dress like princesses, but they’re no damsels in distress.
Every girl has her favorite princess. (Mine is either Ariel or Sleeping Beauty. Does Mulan count?) But real life isn’t always happily, ever after, and princes aren’t the solution to all of our problems. A little fantasizing is fun, but share some real-life heroines with them, too, like Jane Goodall, Rosa Parks, Malala, Susan B. Anthony, and Harriet Tubman.
2. How to learn the “3 R’s” — and love them!
This seems like an obvious one, but girls need to have those basic educational skills. In these days of continuously changing standards, practices, and policies, kids can fall within the cracks. Be an advocate for daughters and support them in and out of school. When and why do some girls begin believing they can’t do math? Do they love to read or hate it? A love of learning is the key to opening up the girls’ worlds. Be an example for them by reading yourself, and buy them a special journal of their choice so that they can see writing as enjoyable and as a window into finding out more about themselves. Take educational trips and turn everyday experiences into chances to practice their developing skills!
3. How to play
Play is underrated these days — and it’s so critical! Play is great for social skills. It encourages creativity and problem-solving. It helps children figure out their environment, their world. Foster these opportunities for your children — and no, video games do not count!
4. How money works
I grew up with practically no concept of financial planning. I created my first budget years after starting my first career. Financial literacy is not a prerequisite for college — and it should be! If your daughters do not learn money management from you, they will learn it one way or the other — perhaps at the mercy of credit card debt or college loans. Start sharing your budget with them from an early age. “Why do we keep it a secret?” And see this as a great opportunity to bring math to life! Explain in terms they’ll understand and try visuals like pie charts. Start with the supermarket and explain how much money you’ve budgeted for the trip. Hand them a calculator and put them in charge of keeping tally as you go.
5. How to create
We are all creators, born with inventive spirits. Encourage them in this in every way. Foster the artist and problem-solver within them. Make “I wonder. . .” your catch phrase, and invite them to use their imagination with you. “I wonder what we can make with these ingredients!” “I wonder why this phone is not charging. Let’s see if the switch is on. . . Let’s see what happens with this outlet. . .”