Whether your daughter is in pre-K or heading to prom this year, it’s never too early (or too late) to give her the tools she’ll need to live her best life. And among the countless skills and bits of wisdom that will serve her over the years, having these six tricks up her sleeve will give her the confidence to truly take on the world.
1. Where to Draw Boundaries
You want your daughter to be courteous, respectful, and kind, but there’s a difference between that and being a doormat for others to take advantage of. Do her “friends” only want to hang out so they can copy her math homework? Is someone in her life—and adult or another kid—pressuring her to do things that feel uncomfortable? Talk to her now about these types of scenarios even if they haven’t come up yet. You want to make sure she has the skills to stand up for herself with confidence. Saying a simple “no,” without feeling the need to give excuses or apologies takes confidence—which you can help her with.
2. The Art of Managing Money
Understanding how to manage money isn’t just a nice-to-know, it’s a necessity for this generation. Help younger girls separate their allowance into amounts they’ll save, spend, or donate will set the groundwork for success. Then when your girl gets a little older, giving her a budget and having her plan her own birthday party will take that decision-making to the next level. Financial literacy will not only help your girl understand the value of a dollar, but also help ensure that she’ll be on secure financial footing for life.
3. When (and Who) to Call for Help
As early as possible, all children should know to call 911 in the case of an emergency—but what about when your girl is older? Will she feel comfortable calling you or another trusted adult for help in an emergency situation where you might disapprove of her actions or who she’s spending time with? It’s imperative to make sure your kids know that even if they use poor judgment, the adults in their lives love them and prioritize their safety above all else.
4. How to Avoid Burnout
We all know at least a couple people who are notorious for over-booking themselves or even sometimes have to bow out of commitments at the last minute out of sheer exhaustion. Don’t let your daughter become one of them! Get her a kid-friendly calendar to keep in her room and let her update it with birthday party invites, soccer matches, school project due dates, and anything else going on in her world. Then have her figure out where and when she has time in her calendar for rest and relaxation. Time management and balance are obviously super important in the working world, but as we all know, they go a long way in keeping yourself healthy and happy, too.
5. The Ability to Keep Moving
Whether she’s on a bike, navigating transit, or in a car, your girl should know how to get out of a fix. Help her learn how to repair her own bike, read a map, and change a flat on the family car when she’s old enough. Even if she’s not that excited to learn this stuff now, she’ll thank you later when she’s not stuck waiting around for a tow-truck.
6. How to Be Heard
You can have 1,000 great ideas, but if you don’t communicate them in a way that will make people listen, they’re not going to help you much. Roleplay with your girl so she learns how to introduce herself with confidence when she meets new people face-to-face, help her understand basic strategies of making a compelling argument (she’ll need facts to back up her points!), and work on direct communication of facts, ideas, and feelings. Finally, talk her through the admittedly sometimes confusing world of social media, texts, emails, phone calls, and—yes!—even the hand-written letter, versus when an in-person chat is best. People skills like these will help her ace that college interview, launch herself into her dream career, and have healthy relationships with friends and partners as she grows up.
*Adapted from GSUSA's series, Raising Awesome Girls