“How do I help my child have a positive body image?” It’s a question I get asked all the time and the answer is simple – you show them how. A recent study identified the number one issue concerning our children is body image. Say what? Not global warming or war, but instead how they feel about their body. “Too fat” “Too thin” “Not muscly enough” kids are more preoccupied with negative thoughts about their bodies than they are with the joys of being a kid. You know; riding a bike, getting swooped by a magpie, building a cubby house, running naked through the sprinkler.
Kids have forgotten to be kids because we live in a world that tells them grow up, tighten up, sex it up and get likes.
But let’s not focus on the negative, that will get us nowhere. Let’s focus on what we can do to help our little ones navigate a complex world of toxic messages.
Your home is a sacred…
We can’t control the messages kids receive when they walk out the front door but we can protect them in our homes. Create a rule in your home that involves a zero tolerance policy for making negative judgments about appearance, towards each other or anyone else (for example watching TV “he looks big” / “she looks old” etc.)
Move your body for pleasure – not punishment!
Show your kids how much fun you can have with your body. There are a million ways to move your body, exercise should never be punishment for something you ate or for ‘being naughty.’ Move your body because it’s enjoyable to, let your children see that you do it for the endorphin rush, the connection to nature or just because it’s fun – not because you are ‘losing weight’ or getting ready for summer.
Talk about the magic of your body – all the time!
Eyes that can see, ears that can hear, a heart that beats, legs that dance, arms that can wrap around one another – there are so many reasons to be grateful for our bodies, but for the most part we take the magic for granted. So don’t. Find opportunities to bring a positive perspective about our bodies into conversations every single day, you can even write positive messages and stick them on the fridge or pin board “Thanks legs for all the walking you do!” “Thanks tummy for being a home to my kids!” The positivity you express about your own body will rub off onto them – after all you are their Queen (or King!).
Stop commenting on weight loss.
A lifetime ago when I trained for a bodybuilding competition and lost a bunch of weight, I’ll never forget how many mums at school came up to me to ‘congratulate’ me on my weight loss. “You’re so inspiring” “Wow how much weight have you lost?” “I need to go on a diet!” So many of these comments were made in front of my kids, the takeaway for my kids – weight loss is inspirational and diets are the way to achieve success. How about we acknowledge that weight loss or weight gain amongst our friends is completely irrelevant, I couldn’t care less what my friends weigh. My connection to them is the energy we exchange and the adventures we share together, not a number on a scale.
Finally, try not to feel too overwhelmed, this parenting gig is no walk in the park but you can’t go wrong if you keep it positive and simply do your best!
With love, Taryn x
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Charlie’s Angels move to the side because Celeste Barber, Teresa Palmer and Natasha Stott Despoja have joined the Embrace Kids documentary as Executive Producers. Talk about a dream team!
Positive body image leggings from BeKeane Healthy and Fit have arrived! Aren’t they glorious! “Born to be me” “Embrace” “Confidence is beautiful” and “Unique” – what powerful pant these are!
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EMBRACE YOU STARTS SOON!
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