No parent wants their children to feel bad about the way they look. Poor body image can lead to an array of negative outcomes and as such, many parents want to prevent their children from experiencing these pitfalls.
To encourage your children to develop a positive body image, there are a couple of things you can do as a family unit.
Exhibit Positive Behaviors
Because children learn a lot of their behaviors from their parents, exhibiting a positive impression of your own body can help your children learn to do the same. Avoid verbalizing negative feelings about your appearance and instead, let your children catch you treating yourself with kindness.
Encourage Healthy Activities
It’s easier to have a positive body image when an individual leads a healthy lifestyle. Encourage your children to participate in healthy activities, including regular exercise and self-care routines. For example, you could take 30 minutes out of your day for physical activity with your kids, or you could help them make healthy food choices, practice effective hygiene, and take a daily multivitamin.
Have Open Discussions
Allow your children to talk to you about their body image struggles, and rather than shutting their concerns down right away, listen to what they’re telling you. By having open conversations with your children about body image issues, you can specifically learn more about what’s bothering them. Additionally, establishing openness and trust allows you and your child to find solutions to the problems at hand.
Children tend to believe what their parents say to them, so to help your child develop and maintain a healthy body image, it’s a good idea to do your part to inspire confidence. Compliment your child when you notice elements of themselves they’re working on, and encourage improvement when it comes to things they seek to change. For example, if your child deals with particularly dry skin and they’ve been taking steps to remedy the situation, let them know that you notice.
Growing up can be harsh for young people, as others are often cruel with very little prompting. However, providing your child with the foundations they need to see themselves in a healthy, positive way can help them to develop resilience to the world around them. Encouraging your children to have a positive body image will help them navigate the world more easily as healthy, happy young people.