Nanny to Mommy: How to Instill Body Positivity in Your Children



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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

How to Instill Body Positivity in Your Children

How to Instill Body Positivity in Your Children

Now, more than ever it is important to set a good example of body positivity for our children. With the pictures in magazines, actors on tv screens, and advertisements constantly telling both us and our children that we aren’t good enough, there couldn’t be a more important message to send our kids than to love themselves exactly as they are. But how do we do that? How can we override all of the pages, screens, and ads screaming the opposite message at them day in and day out? Unfortunately, there’s no way we can avoid these things completely, but there are plenty of opportunities to promote a body positive attitude and teach children that they don’t have to listen to the constant body negativity filling their worlds.

First and foremost (and probably the most obvious answer) – practice body confidence for yourself. Rather than looking in the mirror while you’re getting ready in the morning or for a night out and pointing out all of your flaws, talk about all of the things you like about your body. Whether you’re having a good hair day or love the way your legs are shown off in your dress, always make sure you are putting the focus on everything you love about your body. Avoid negative statements like calling yourself fat, ugly, not good enough, etc. If you are having a bad day and are feeling that way, actively make sure you are continuing to send messages of positive self-talk to your kids and to yourself!

How to Instill Body Positivity in Your Children

Maintain a positive mindset toward exercise and healthy eating habits. This all comes back to the way we talk about these things in our lives. When you say things like “I’m getting so fat, I need to go to the gym,” or “I feel like a fat pig today so let’s have salad for dinner,” you are associating those things with harmful connotations that will make them look like a punishment and not the positive things exercise and healthy eating are. Instead, tell your kids that you want to go to the gym because it makes you stronger and you are eating your vegetables to get more energy. Most importantly, believe those things yourself and try your best to rid your own mind of the negative associations.

Talk about the body images shown in media on a regular basis. No matter what you say to your kids or how well you uphold your body positivity, the role models shown in the media that kids are constantly consuming will have its effect on them. It is important to make sure you are talking to them about the people who have been photoshopped in their favorite clothing ads and the singers and actors on TV. Even if your kids look up to them, it’s essential that they understand they do not need to look like that and more often than not, the people they are seeing don’t look like that either.

Support brands and products that promote a positive body image. Although there are plenty of brands out there that follow the stereotypical trends associated with media, there are more and more that are instead choosing the more diverse, inclusive path. Ladies, try out the bras from True & Co., a bra company that aims to create bras for all women, regardless of shape, size, or color. Buy swimsuits from Chromat, A company makes a point of consistently featuring models of all ages, genders, sizes, races, and sexual orientations on the runway. Buy food products from Nestlé whose hiring process focuses heavily on inclusion both inside and outside of the company. Take the time to explain to your kids that these companies deserve your support and why you are choosing to buy from them rather than others.

How to Instill Body Positivity in Your Children

Set goals that are entirely separate from you children’s appearance. This one is a big one. As we get older, it seems that many of our goals are focused on the way we look. We want to lose weight, have fewer wrinkles, or even more/different hair than what we have. For our kids, we want to make sure that we are shying away from those kinds of goals and instead setting goals for them (and ourselves) that do not involve their body at all. Maybe your son or daughter is struggling in their math class. Set a goal to be able to do those tough problems by the end of the school year. Aim to have that soccer move mastered by the end of the season. Try to learn a new skill like playing an instrument or speaking another language. Find goals that have nothing to do with their body and make a point of congratulating them when they reach the goal and teaching them that these goals are much more important for their happiness than anything physical.

At the end of the day, it can be hard to ignore the messages we are constantly being sent about how we should hate our bodies and should always be striving to become that model on the cover of the magazine or the actor on TV. Although these messages are permeated throughout every aspect of our lives, it is so important to be sure you are combating those messages with ones that are much more body positive and teaching your kids that they are perfect and beautiful in the skin they are in.

This is a guest post.

3 comments:

  1. These suggestions sound excellent. So many problems can carry over into adulthood, too, that start when young. Kids do tease and comment on just about anything, and peer pressure, it is important to have a strategy that impacts their thinking and ways before outside influences that are not good set in.

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  2. These are all great tips. I think you need to start young. We are all unique and beautiful in our own way and I think kids need to learn that at an early age.

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  3. These are great suggestions. My husband is the one always picking on his own looks in front of our daughter so I'll share this post asap.

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Diana