10 Things to Compliment Your Little Girl on Besides Her Looks

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Most parents of girls spend a lot of time thinking about how to build them up when they’re young to ensure that the world (full of reality shows, sexist grown-ups, and societal norms) doesn’t crush their spirit as they become pre-teens and young women. One key way to do this is by focusing on internal characteristics, instead of their appearance, when you compliment your little girl. Identifying and praising internal characteristics helps girls focus on things that they have control over. It also helps them grow into the kind of strong, confident women all girls have the potential to become. 

Most parents understand that they should be shining a light on their daughters' internal qualities. But actually following through can be hard. All little girls look absolutely, positively gorgeous from the moment they wake up until the moment they fall asleep. And it can be difficult for parents to come up with fantastic compliments that roll off the tongue as easily as, “You look so beautiful.” 

Check out the characteristics below that most little girls show as they live their everyday lives. Then, get to work letting your little girl know how fantastic you think she is! 

1. Bravery 

Did your girl do something she was scared of because she wanted to reach an important goal? How about saying no to something that everyone else was doing because it just wasn’t for her? Congratulations, you have one brave little girl! Look for times your daughter displays her bravery and let her know how proud you are. “Taylor, I saw you tell the older kids that your little brother had been waiting in line for the slide and it was his turn. That showed a lot of bravery!” 

2. Curiosity 

Can your little girl make it more than half a mile down the road in the backseat without asking a mouthful of “who, what, where and whys?”  Keep your girl's spark for learning alive by sharing how much you love her curiosity. “Shyla, when you wanted to learn more about the turtles at the museum you asked all the questions on your mind. I’m so proud that you’re so curious!” 

3. Memory 

Some kiddos possess impressive memories. Whether she surprises you by remembering that your favorite snack is applesauce or drawing a picture of a trip you took years ago, let your girl know how impressed you are. “Carson, you must have really paid attention to the details at your aunt's wedding to be able to draw such a detailed picture. I’m impressed!” 

4. Empathy 

Feeling and showing true empathy is tough for many adults. When your girl begins to look outward and develop the ability to put herself in someone else’s shoes, help her continue to develop her empathy by sharing how much you value this skill. “Kayla, I noticed that you added Abby to your birthday party list. Even though you’ve said she’s the loudest kid in class and sometimes says rude things. When I asked you why you said it was because she would be sad to miss out on the fun. Thinking about how other people feel is called empathy and I’m proud that you’re able to do it. Let’s keep thinking about and talking about how other people feel.” 

5. Energy 

Up before dawn? Go-go-go type of personality? Your girl is full of boundless energy and you couldn’t be prouder! Or more exhausted! As you fight your yawn, let your kiddo know how their energy will serve them later in life. “Gisella, I love how energetic you are, you light up the room when you share your ideas and encourage others to play, keep it up!” 

{ MORE: Dads Don’t Need Extra Praise, a Simple Smile Will Do the Trick }

6. Patience 

Patience is a virtue. It’s also a learned skill that many grown-ups still struggle with. If your girl knows how to wait and impresses you with her patience, let her know. “Aniya, when I told you my hands were full so you’d have to wait for me to get the crayons, you sat down quietly and waited. That shows patience. And I really appreciate it!” 

7. Calmness 

Calm in the face of a storm? Not one to get caught up in the tears and fears of other? You’ve got one calm child, and, as she grows, this trait will serve her well. So take the opportunity to tell her just how whenever you get the chance. “Jasmine, your teacher told me that when the other kids were panicked about the fire alarm at school you stayed calm and reminded everyone how to line up. Being calm when others aren’t can be difficult but doing so can make you a real leader!” 

8. Creativity 

If your girl can turn an old box into a rocket ship in no time flat or make up stories with twists and turns so elaborate her peers are on the edge of their seats as she shares, let her know how much you value her creativity. “Emma, I love seeing how creative you are. It’s fun to watch you think, create, and share your ideas!” 

9. Generosity 

Perhaps your daughter routinely shares her toys and goodies with her younger siblings. Maybe she takes note of those around her in need and thinks about how she can help. Generosity goes a long way in the world and your girl should know how impressed you are with her selflessness. “Gia, I’m so impressed that you shared your favorite snack with your brother. When you share it shows how generous you are and how much you care about others!” 

10. Optimism 

Is your girl a positive thinker who knows how to look for the bright side of any situation? Does she see the silver lining while others around her are still stuck looking at the cloud? If your girl has an optimism you’re envious of, be sure to let her know what a great trait it is. “I know you felt disappointed when your soccer game got rained out Mariana. But I’m so impressed you were able to use your optimism and point out that having a Saturday morning to snuggle and read your favorite book was fun too. You inspire me to look for the good in every situation!” 

What is a great characteristic your little one possesses? 

What do you think?

10 Things to Compliment Your Little Girl on Besides Her Looks

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. She is writing a memoir on pregnancy, motherhood, and sisterhood and lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. ... More

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