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How to Speak to Little Girls During the Holidays

Can you believe it's already mid-December? With Holiday Season in full swing, we are bound to be surrounded by family and loved ones, including the little ladies in our lives. From nieces, to cousins, to granddaughters and goddaughters, here is a quick list of seven tips and conversation starters to keep her mind engaged.

I remember growing up going to Holiday parties, and having older family members pinch my cheeks and tell me what a cute little girl I am, and how pretty my dress is, with a request for a twirl, of course. I understand the well-meaning intentions of these older relatives - commenting on appearance is our society's standard conversation-starter for young ladies. Now as an adult, the roles have reversed, and I find I have to check myself in conversations with young girls to keep the right topics on our radar. Conversations that focus on appearance can have damaging consequences. Body image issues begin in pre-school for some girls. It's time to rethink the way we speak to young girls, and have an actual conversation. I promise it will be more interesting for both of you!

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1. Instead of commenting on her hairstyle, find out what her favourite subject in school is.

2. Instead of commenting on her outfit, ask her what her proudest achievement is.

3. To let her know education matters, ask her what she is learning in school.

4. To encourage learning outside of the classroom, inquire if she plays any sports or instruments.

5. To encourage continuous learning, ask her what she is learning over the holidays while school is out.

6. To encourage resilience, ask her about a time she did not succeed, and encourage her to try again.

7. To let her know her voice matters, listen when she speaks, and ask follow up questions.

Girls (and all children) should be complimented on their actions - from the art project they did, or the A+ they got on the test they studied so hard for. Confidence and being valued should come from what girls have achieved, and where they can go in life, instead of their appearance.

I'd love to hear your thoughts! Do you have any young ladies in your life? What do you choose to speak to them about? Do you remember how adults spoke to you as a young girl? How did different topics make you feel?

Happy Holidays!

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