I suppose, as a Modern Woman, I should be horrified, or at least slightly annoyed, that my two-year-old daughter is obsessed with that animated symbol of the repressive patriarchy- the Disney princess. After all, before she was born, I experienced the appropriate levels of mental anguish when I realized that I had come to the conclusion that maybe dressing little girls in pink is not the end of the world. I suppose I should be ashamed that I've even let her watch Snow White at all.
Except I'm totally not.
Mr. Geek and I are, obviously, huge Disney geeks, as we took a Disneymoon and everything. (We even posed for pictures with our favorite characters, because how many times in your life do you get to hug Tigger?)
And you know what? Disney princesses are actually quite good role models. They teach us to value loyalty, to put our friends and family above our selves. They teach us to be brave by doing things that make us uncomfortable or scared. They teach us to try new things and meet new people and never judge a book by its cover. And most of all, they teach us that nothing is more powerful than love- the love between a husband and wife, the love of a family and those we treat as family, and the love of parents for their children.
So as our boisterous two-year-old runs around the house singing Let it Go, I've decided to use this princess obsession for good- to teach manners. (I'll let the life lessons come later.) Since Miss Chief prefers to wear dresses and skirts because "that's what princesses wear," I've found that I can influence her behavior by telling her that "that's how princesses act."
My mother taught my sisters and I how to act like little ladies, but living in the north (for all intents and purposes) in 2016, "act like a lady" means nothing to my little one. A princess is a much more solid concept for her, though, and someone she's eager to emulate.
How to Act like a Princess
1. A princess never runs inside the house.
2. A princess uses her inside voice when she's inside.
3. A princess says "please" when she wants something.
4. A princess says "thank you" when someone gives her something.
5. A princess sits up straight at the dinner table with her feet under the table, never on it.
6. A princess wipes her mouth and hands with her napkin after she eats.
7. A princess never whines when someone tells her "no."
8. Princesses do not hit, or bite, or push.
The list is ever growing- basically if you include the phrase "like a princess" in any behavior-correcting command, she's more likely to obey (though she's still a toddler so it's not completely foolproof). This weekend, she was a flower girl in my sister's wedding, so how did we get her to walk down the aisle?
"Walk slowly, like a princess."
Her performance was quite royal indeed.
How do you teach your young ones good manners?