In the wake of the Women’s World Cup win earlier this summer, my daughters posed lots of questions related to the power of girls and women in various aspects of life. I took this opportunity think of fun activities to boost the idea of female empowerment and self-esteem, especially in young girls.
It is a good opportunity to teach them about hard work, perseverance, believing in yourself, and maintaining a positive attitude as much as possible. I started out pointing to examples of women in power in the media: women senators and congresswomen, astronauts, athletes, and women of all religions and backgrounds making a big impact.
Recently we read about inspiring girls and women in the news and posts on “A Mighty Girl” on Facebook and book recommendations. Many of our conversations focus on the importance of lifting up others with compliments and maintaining a positive attitude.
I implement art and other activities periodically into our routine focused on boosting confidence and self-esteem. I was inspired by some of the exercises my older daughter, who is 9, participated in during a program for third grade girls this past spring.
One of these activities is creating a poster board that centers on the questions: “what are my strengths?” and “what accomplishments am I most proud of?” We draw pictures and list as many strengths and accomplishments that we can, sometimes cutting out magazine pictures and images to visually create a positive-image board and prop it up so it can be seen every day. It is also a good reminder in difficult times and during hard or emotional days.
A similar exercise is to have your daughter draw a self-portrait surrounded by positive messages and list attributes about herself that she likes. This can also go up on the bedroom wall.
Also, to bolster attitudes and friendship between sisters, I ask them to pin a picture or compliment on each other’s boards, to point out something nice about the other person or one of their strengths. Similarly, we keep a family compliment jar with folded notes that give a compliment to another family member. We read them occasionally to give someone an emotional lift.
My girls and I complete a writing exercise together where we write in a journal at the end of the day (or sometimes just at the end of the week) to say what we are thankful for and what we did well during the week.
We picked up some books at the library focusing on girls and self-esteem. One recommendation that we found to be particularly helpful and user-friendly is The Girl’s Body Book by Kelli Dunham, R.N. Specifically, the sections discussing personal empowerment, self-esteem, social skills, and friendships were helpful. However, there are many other important sections focusing on growing up physically, emotionally, and socially.
Thorough these lessons I want my girls to know that armed with knowledge, confidence, strong self-esteem, and empathy for others, they can do anything.