As a parent, we could help by introducing our child by name and an interest.For example, “This is Amelia and she loves drawing different animals and plants.” or “This is Nikita and she loves doing puzzles.” This would then prompt the person to delve deeper or provide a general comment about the particular interest, rather than appearance which is an easy default. It reinforces to our child(ren) that we recognize and honor their interest as well as encourages the adult (or kid for that matter) to engage them.
Reply I just *loved* this post, and I have young daughters – oh how I wish every person who met them was a savvy about little girls as you. I think some adults just don’t know what to say to kids. I agree that there are many adults who just don’t know what else to say, particularly if they don’t have children of their own.
Compliments on appearance are easy to make and they don’t lead to validating the whole little person. I have twin girls that are about to turn four years old. My sister-in-law shared an important thought with me when our daughters, who are only 6 months apart, were very young.