Despite the fact that we live in a time where more people are encouraging body positivity, the topic of body image and food is still prevalent. We all want to raise healthy kids who make mindful decisions. However, there’s a fine line between encouraging positive body image and borderline body shaming.
Children and teens are more likely to feel better about themselves, exude confidence, and take care of themselves better if they have a positive body image.
Unfortunately, there are parents out there who are mean and say things that can make a child feel embarrassed. However, most of the time it’s unintentional and we may not even realize we’re doing it.
I try to make a conscious effort to promote body positivity, so I figured I’d share some of my wisdom with you.
Watch What You Say
Whether you realize it or not, the things you say will have a lasting impact on your child and how they view themselves. If negativity is the main theme in a child’s home, they’re also more likely to exhibit unwelcome behaviors.
I know I’m definitely guilty of this sometimes and I certainly don’t consider myself Mother Theresa when it comes to parenting. I do, however, try to make a conscious effort to speak positively to my daughter.
We’ve definitely still got time before the body image issues sink in, but I feel that starting early with body positivity is never a bad thing.
I also think it’s definitely worth saying that you also shouldn’t be afraid to speak up when someone is speaking negatively around your child. Even if it’s a half-hearted comment about someone walking by, shut it down.
I’ve shown the door to many people in my daughter’s life for this very thing.
There’s only so much you can do at home and it’s important that people know and respect how you decide to parent.
Lead By Example
This one is my favorite. It also happens to be the hardest tip I have for you. We all like to snack on the occasional chocolate bar or Twizzler and there’s nothing wrong with that. The point of this tip is to be accountable.
This tip has been a major point in my journey to self-love. I’ve battled issues with my body image for a long time and since having a daughter of my own, I’ve made it a mission to shield her from that.
You don’t have to be Janet the Organic Mom or Sharon Who Home Cooks Every Meal. You just can’t be a hypocrite.
Think about it. If you’re preaching to your child that they need to eat their veggies to grow big and strong and you won’t eat them yourself, what is that really doing for them? As much as we may think, we aren’t above the rules just because we’re the parents.
Being Healthy Together
One of the best ways I know how to not only encourage healthy body image with your child but with yourself as well is to start a health journey together. It’s honestly like having your own miniature accountability partner.
I’m certainly not saying your four-year-old is going to be benching 100 pounds anytime soon, but by practicing healthy habits together you’re more likely to be successful.
Here are some quick tips on how you can start a healthy journey with your child.
- Eat balanced meals. This is a given. Eat plenty of fruits, veggies, and protein.
- Indulge in the occasional cheat day. Everybody loves a cheat day. You don’t need to totally ban ice cream or other sweets from your house. That’s a one-way ticket to your child’s hit list forever.
- Radiate positive vibes. Filter out the negativity in your family’s life and focus on the positives.
- Exercise together. No, not the gym. You can walk or ride bikes at a local park if you want something easy. Some yoga studios also offer parent-child yoga classes.
- Encourage your child to ask questions. Always encourage your child to talk to you. If they see something questionable in the media or at school, they shouldn’t be afraid to talk about or question it.
All Bodies Are Different And That’s Okay
The most important thing you should be teaching your child is that all bodies are different and there isn’t anything wrong with that. As long as you and your child are both eating a balanced diet and are getting plenty of physical activity, it’s okay.
Skinny isn’t always healthy and as long as you feel good, you’re doing things right.
- 6 Things You Should Never Say To Your Kids
- 5 Ways To Talk To Your Daughter About Her Clothes – Without Body-Shaming Her