Teaching your child to have a positive body image in today’s culture is no easy task. Advertisements depicting impossible to achieve photo-shopped images of “sexy” are constantly being absorbed into your kid’s sub-conscious. You do not have to look far to find unrealistic ideals of what culture tells us our bodies should look like.
So how can you help your child create a positive body image?
Show them what they’re capable of
Kids love to play. It’s how they learn, it’s in their nature. They will grow and develop by using their bodies to do amazing things. Help them! Show your children what they are capable of by getting active – hiking, swimming, and other recreational sports can help kids understand how able-bodied they are. Teach your kids how lucky they are to be capable of the activities they enjoy. When kids see their bodies as a tool that allows them to do what they love instead of a project that always needs fixing, they will have a renewed appreciation for the skin they’re in.
Give them positive role models
This includes you! We all have days when we feel negative about our bodies, but letting our kids hear us talk about feeling fat or needing to go on a diet will only add to the stigma that they aren’t good enough. Don’t make comments about your body, or theirs, in front of them. Try telling your child “you look happy today” or “you are radiant” instead of saying “you lost weight.” Words are powerful, and saying the right ones can have a huge impact on how your children perceive themselves.
Teach them about food
Food is the fuel for our bodies. Kids need to be taught the basics of nutrition, and what nutrients different foods provide. Telling them “eat it because it’s good for you” is not enough for them to maintain healthy habits. Educate your child about nutrition so they develop a positive relationship with food. Don’t teach them about good food versus bad food, because for them food is just food. Keep it that way by helping them associate food with nutrients and fuel instead of guilt or pleasure.
Being a parent in today’s social media inundated world is daunting, but by using these tips you can help your child maintain a positive body image.