We partnered with Disney Junior for the premiere of Sofia the First: The Curse of Princess Ivy on this post to encourage all girls everywhere to see the beauty within.
If you're mom to a daughter, then you know what it's like dealing with the constant onslaught of ideals that start so much earlier than you ever expected. As soon as my little one hit toddlerhood, my brain jumped backward to my first explorations of beauty — and then forward to my current issues. The last thing I wanted was for her to feel inadequate, unable to express herself openly, or pushed to fit into typical beauty molds. If you have a baby girl, you probably get what I'm talking about. Let's work together to teach our daughters what it really means to be beautiful. Hey, we parents might learn something along the way, too.
Source: Instagram user Sarah Lipoff
It's OK to Be Proud
Beauty comes from within, making it important to encourage your little one as early as possible to be proud of her accomplishments and everything she can do. Be direct with praise, sharing specifically why you're proud of her. Sure, it's OK to toss out a quick "good job," but letting her know that the way she shared her toy, drew a picture, or even jumped so far gets her brain thinking about herself in a positive way. As adults, we often shy away from being proud of accomplishments — which isn't what we should instill in kids.
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Inner Strength Is Beautiful
Sure, it's sometimes considered slightly precocious, but inner strength has true charm. And if your child feels supported and comfortable in her own skin, she's more apt to stand up to bullies — and stand up when someone else is being mistreated. Being outspoken shouldn't be shamed; it should be encouraged and supported in a manner that allows your child to be herself while also being aware and considerate of others.
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Appreciate the Body You Have
Most of us moms have body issues, which rub off on our daughters without our even realizing it. Do you find yourself covering up after showering, shielding your child from seeing your body? You might be sending her the message that we should always cover up when she's at an age where her body should be celebrated. Remind her how special and unique she is — how wonderful it is to clap her hands and squish her toes. How her legs are strong and help her run, how her arms can lift her up and hug the ones she loves. Then remind yourself the same things.
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No One Else Looks Like You — and That's Cool
There are tons of pressures all around us to look a certain way when the fact is we all look one way that is unique to us. It's not about being a smaller size or having longer hair; show your child how special it is to be distinctive by encouraging your daughter's individual style. Let her pick out her own clothes (even if they don't match), help decide what's for dinner (based on her flavor profile), or decorate her own room. She'll feel trusted and inspired to follow her own natural inclinations.
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Be a Good Friend
Once kids come into the picture, it's sometimes hard to keep up with friends. But leading by example is a great way to share with your daughter how being a good friend is also so important. Invite her friends over for playdates — along with the moms. You'll both have a chance to make connections and explore friendships together. She'll grow up learning that being a good friend is truly a beautiful thing.
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Compliment Others Honestly
Do you find yourself coming up with an excuse or comment in response to a compliment instead of simply saying "thank you"? We women have a hard time learning how to accept praise — and it starts at an early age. Teach your daughter how to compliment others honestly, and say thank you, encouraging everyone's self-confidence. Make a point to directly compliment your child daily while you work on saying thanks when someone says something nice to you.
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Accentuate What You're Proud Of
Shaming is a real thing, but what's sad is how women are dissed instead of being celebrated when they accentuate something they're proud of. If your daughter loves to sing, sign her up for music classes. She loves wiggling her toes? How about a bit of nail polish? From internal talents to her external abilities, teach her it's OK to accentuate and explore what she's proud of.
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All-New Sofia the First Movie — Watch the Trailer
Sofia the First: The Curse of Princess Ivy premieres Sunday, Nov. 23, at 7 p.m. EST/6 p.m. CST on Disney Channel.
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