My tiny girl is growing up so fast. She’s just three, and while some days she still seems like a baby, others she is already showing signs of the big kid she’s quickly becoming. Raising a girl is taking me back to my own childhood and bringing up memories—both good and bad—of how fun, wonderful and also difficult it can be navigating the move from child to tween. There are so many things I want to teach my daughter and show her as she grows into a young lady, ready to take on the world on her own. Here are ten things I hope she learns by the time she turns double digits.
To be a good friend
Right now I’m trying to teach the concept of sharing. She has no trouble attracting little friends at this stage, and I hope that as she gets older she will keep friends close to her heart. Friends will support her throughout life when family can’t be there, and fill in the place of the siblings she doesn’t have.
To stand up for herself
Growing up in Brooklyn playgrounds, this kid has no trouble standing up for herself if another kid tries to grab a toy out of her hands. But it’s a world of difference in the grade school and tween years, when kids can get mean and catty and form cliques. I hope that by helping our daughter realize her self worth, she will be able able to keep her confidence high and stand up to bullies.
To stand up for others
I also want my daughter to use her strength to help others in need, to speak up for people who can’t speak up for themselves. Sometimes we need to be a voice for those who aren’t able to use their own. A little empathy and kindness make the world a better place for everyone to live in.
To develop her own voice
It’s so easy to follow others and ignore what makes you special so you blend in. It takes a great deal of personal character and strength to really be yourself and follow your own heart. I hope my fearless girl will continue to stand confident in her own values and embrace being unique.
To be bold
When we’re little it’s easy to be brave. As we get older, though, fear starts to get in the way of us fulfilling our potential. I want my girl to keep her sassiness and fearlessness, and continue to be the brave girl who has forged her own way since birth.
To be her own style icon
There’s no need to copy other people’s styles and trends when you can create a unique look that’s perfect for just you. I hope to see many adventurous outfits and hairstyles on my daughter as she becomes a tween. Crazy hair? Sure, bring it on!
To be kind to animals
Animals need us to watch out for them—to champion their causes and to pick them up when they’re hurt. My daughter already loves animals. The next step is teaching her to show all creatures empathy and give them help when they need it—whether it’s bringing home a stray kitten or telling us she’s found a bird with a broken wing that needs aid.
To keep trying
We’ve all been there—sometimes it feels like it’s easier to just give up. Take riding a bike, for example. It may seem hard at first and not worth to trying (especially when you can just scoot or walk instead), but it is. What’s important, though, isn’t the bike riding (although having your own transportation is awesome), it’s the trying and persisting that builds character. I know this will ultimately help my daughter succeed later in life.
To dream big and work hard
We all start with big dreams. Huge, lofty, crazy dreams about the way we want our lives to go. But how often do we follow through on these dreams? They don’t magically come true—dreams require a lot of hard work and persistence. So keep on dreaming big, little one, and get ready to work your butt off to make them a reality.
To find the joy in each day
Some days are not joyful. They’re downright hard and sometimes sad. It’s not realistic to ask anyone to be happy every day of their lives, but I hope that my daughter is able to find at least a small moment of joy in every day, to help her keep loving life even through the tough times.
This article first appeared on MommyNearest.