9 Strategies To Get Your Little Princess To Put On Her Sneakers Instead of Her Play Heels



I never imagined I’d have a daughter who loved princesses, let alone one with a pair of play heels, but here we are. Despite my best intentions and my own tendencies to dress in the drabbest earth tones available, my child loves to look fancy. And when I say “fancy”, I mean tulle, sequins, ruffles and embedded jewels. Like many parents, we also went through a stage where she only wanted to wear those vexing play heels. I offer you a few inventive strategies to deal with your sneaker-resistant daughter. You’re welcome!

Strategic Sneakers

If you have a daughter who loves princesses, you probably know all about the Disney line. Sporty shoes with the images of princesses on them are your best friend – in fact, your daughter probably has at least one pair already. Use that image to your advantage! Say something like, “Sofia will be very sad if you don’t wear her sneakers today” or perhaps “The lotus flowers on your Moana sneakers need some sunshine. Or else they’ll die.” 


Tell her that there are scenes of Aurora playing soccer which were left on the cutting room floor. Reveal that Snow White secretly enjoyed long distance running. Let he know that Cinderella played racquetball in her spare time but that she lost her matches whenever she tried to wear those impractical glass slippers.


Your daughter can’t wear her play heels if she can’t find them, right? And while you pretend to look under the couch for the missing heels, only you know that they’re hiding behind the cereal boxes on the top shelf of the kitchen cabinet. Until her older brother feels hungry for a midday snack, those heels are out of circulation.


While you’ll never convince your daughter that play heels are a bad idea, you can divert her attention to all her other princess accessories. Now is the only time for you to ever say, “What a great day to wear your tutu! And your tiara! And your satin gloves!

Princess Purse

Like professional women who commute, many princesses don’t wear their fancy shoes until they get to work. At least, that’s the story your telling your daughter and it sounds good, doesn’t it? Your daughter is probably not going to point out, “Hey, wait a minute! Princesses don’t work!” Once the heels are placed in the purse – to be worn “later” – you’ll stash them in the trunk of the car, where they will be forgotten until you pack up for the beach next summer. 

Princess Play

If you can pretend that you’re a singing bird, and that the bird is chirping out a song about putting on socks and sneakers, your Little Princess is likely to put those babies right on. Everyone knows that Princesses love to dress whilst being accompanied by singing birds!

Mommy Matching

This one requires that you purchase sparkly adult sneakers that light up, but if you can find a pair that look like your daughter’s shoes, then you and she can be twins!


I don’t mean that you should give your kid some candy to put on her sneakers. Everyone knows that rewarding your child for doing ordinary tasks is a bad idea and I have personally only made that mistake only 473 times. I mean that you should wonder aloud if there’s a treasure waiting to be found on top of the large rock that your Little Princess loves to climb outside your home. She knows she can’t climb it in her play heels, and the tantalizing prospect of treasure should do the trick.*

Common Sense

Haha – just kidding. Your princess-obsessed daughter left common sense behind long ago when she begged you to buy the beaded mermaid dress and the faux fur stole. She believes in pixie dust and she still thinks the woman who hugged her at the Disney Princess Lunch was really Rapunzel. This is not an option for your Little Princess. Do not try at home.

 *When she’s not looking, you will need to place a marshmallow on top of the rock. 

Devorah Blachor is the author of THE FEMINIST’S GUIDE TO RAISING A LITTLE PRINCESS, and has written columns for The New York Times Motherlode, The Huffington Post, McSweeney’s, Redbook, and Good Housekeeping, among many others. Her children Cai and Mari provide endless material for her humor and essays.