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Phrases to boost girls’ self-esteem—other than ‘you’re so pretty’

This isn’t about *never* saying girls are beautiful. It’s just about reminding us all what else matters. ?

Phrases to boost girls’ self-esteem—other than ‘you’re so pretty’

When all babies are born, people naturally love to comment on how beautiful they are. As those babies grow into children, however, it seems comments on boys’ looks become less frequent—while complimentary phrases for girls remain dominated by some variation of how pretty they are.


We can’t always change what other people are saying to our kids. But we can make sure they know that they’re more than just pretty. And with one recent study finding girls as young as nine wanted to be “small” and conform to beauty ideals, helping them recognize their worth beyond their looks is incredibly important.

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“Socio-culturally, there’s a lot of emphasis on the value of attractiveness and the value of thinness,” says the study’s author, Professor Heidi Fuller of the Sport Movement Science Department at Salem State University. “It surrounds girls,”

Here’s what she suggests doing instead:

According to Fuller, the first thing parents should do is examine his or her own behavior to see if there are any non-verbal messages around body image.

She tells Motherly, “Some of my early research showed some very interesting anecdotal things where girls [would] say, ‘My mom never sat down to dinner, she fed us but she didn’t sit down with us.’”

Tell her she’s strong

We can control what is modeled at home. But, outside of it—and through technology—our kids may be exposed to a world with an unhealthy obsession with women's looks.

“The best antidote to it is to monitor the things that you say and compliment your daughter, especially on being strong,” says Fuller.

Complimenting a little girl’s strength instills a sense of confidence at an early age. We’re saying, “wow, you’re so strong!” but we’re also saying “you are capable.”

Tell her she’s fast

According to Fuller, participation in sports helps emphasize the strength, capability and social skills parents should complement their girls on. “When girls are in a team environment, they’re very nurturing to each other, they’re very collaborative, they develop strength and self-esteem and confidence.”

As a parent on the sidelines, instead of saying, “You looked great out there,” try to specifically emphasize the positive aspects of your girl’s performance on the field, rink or court. “Say, ‘You really handled the ball great,’ or, ‘You were so fast,’” says Fuller.

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Tell her she’s makes you proud

Of course, not all kids will excel in sports. Even if yours isn’t the fastest on the team, she will still bring something to the game. Hone in on that to build her confidence. For example, Fuller suggests telling your child when and how she was a good teammate. “Say, ‘You comforted [your teammate], you gave her a hug when she missed the shot, that was great.’”

Ask her about her interests

Sports may not be your daughter’s forte, but something else could be. Whether it’s guitar lessons, Legos or school musicals, support her in seeking out interests that make use of her skills. Then, the best thing to say, according to Fuller, is “show me.”

“When parents become students, that is a huge boost in a child’s self-esteem,” she says. “The idea that a kid—at any age—can show their parent something makes them feel even better about themselves.”

Tell her she’s beautiful—when appropriate

Fuller says there are certainly times when it’s appropriate to talk about your child’s looks, particularly if she is feeling down about herself due to bullying or media consumption. And Fuller says that is totally understandable.

Here’s the key: You should also take the opportunity to offer a gentle counter perspective to the outside messages she’s receiving and remind her that she’s strong, too.

Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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