I am constantly telling my little girl how beautiful she is. I do it without thinking. And I think it's so important that she feels that she is beautiful, but I do sometimes worry about it. So much so that I find myself consciously adding on extra compliments to the endless chimes of "gosh, you're pretty" for fear of her growing up thinking that it's all she has to offer the world.
I compliment her whenever she does anything of note - when she reads well, learns a new skill, tries hard at something, makes me laugh, shares her sweets...
It is sort of ridiculous how much it means to us women to be told that we are beautiful. After all, our beauty or lack of it isn't our own achievement, but an accident of genetics - something for our parents to be proud of, not us. And yet, let a little girl grow up without feeling that she is beautiful and you raise a woman full of insecurities in all areas of her life.
Of course beauty is not the most important quality in a woman any more - thank goodness. And we must let our little girls feel as though they can do anything, be anyone they want to be. In the book, The Help, the main character, Aibileen has a phrase that she repeats with the little girls she looks after - "I am kind, I am smart, I am important". Add "I am beautiful" to that and I think you've got the perfect mantra for raising a happy, healthy, confident young woman. "You are beautiful, you are kind, you are smart, you are important."
So tell your daughter that she looks pretty today. Do it often. Then tell her that she can rule the world.