Help Your Kids Develop a Good Body Image!
If you want your kids to have a healthy body image, it’s important to give kids positive messages without overdoing it. Here are ten things to tell your kids to help them accept and embrace their growing bodies.
Article by Weight Watchers Publishing Group via Weightwatchers.com
There can be a fine line between helping kids of any age feel comfortable with their bodies and fostering complacency to the point where they aren’t interested in developing healthy habits. Similarly, there’s often a delicate balance between promoting a healthy body image and placing undue emphasis on looks and appearance issues. The key is to give kids positive messages about their bodies without overdoing it and to convey these lessons in an age-appropriate fashion; you’ll want to use simpler or more complex language depending on your children’s ages. You’ll want to send these messages with your own behavior, too.
Here are ten things to tell your kids to help them accept and embrace their growing bodies.
- Think about what your body can do, not just how it looks. Instead of viewing the human body as an object, encourage your child to think of it as an instrument of strength and power, as a machine that’s capable of all kinds of physical feats. Adopting this perspective can help your child develop body confidence and appreciation.
- Give it the care it needs and deserves. It’s the only body your child will ever have―encourage him to take good care of it so that he can feel and function at his best. You might point out that this is ultimately his responsibility; no one else can do it for him.
- Identify things that make it feel good. Maybe your daughter loves the way her body feels as it splashes around in the ocean, or perhaps she relishes the flush of exertion she gets while dancing. Encouraging your child to derive satisfaction from her body in ways that have nothing to do with appearance can enhance her sense of body esteem.
- Become your body’s biggest fan. Encourage your child to think and speak highly of his body and everything it does for him. Not only will he view it more positively, but he’ll also probably make healthier choices for it.
- Notice positive changes. When your child realizes he has more stamina on the soccer field or she has more muscle definition in her arms from swinging on the monkey bars, he or she will gain body confidence and a can-do spirit.
- Fuel your body regularly. Talk about food as fuel for energy and discuss the importance of regularly fueling up with good-quality meals―including breakfast―so that your child will have plenty of energy all day long.
- Love yourself inside and out. Encourage your child to appreciate the qualities that make him special inside and out―his wonderful sense of humor and endearing smile, his kindness toward others, his natural curiosity, and so on. This way, kids can begin to appreciate the bodies and personalities they have.
- Pay attention to your body’s signals. Let kids know that they should eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’ve had enough―meaning they feel comfortable and satisfied, not stuffed. By the same token, emphasize the importance of resting when they’re tired so they can rejuvenate themselves. Doing this will help them learn to trust what their bodies are telling them and to heed those signals.
- Express yourself with your body. Encourage kids to use their bodies and gestures to express themselves when they’re talking, and to choose styles and colors of clothing that express who they really are and make them feel good.
- Remember to tell them, “I will always love you and your body.” Explain that you want your child to be as healthy and happy as possible, physically and emotionally, but that you will love him or her in any size. It’s another way to express unconditional love, which helps kids feel safe, secure, and comfortable within the family and in life.