Kids and Body Image: 5 Ways to Promote Positivity

Body image is an integral part of developing a healthy lifestyle, and fostering a positive body image in kids helps them to feel comfortable and confident.  Kids with a negative body image feel more self-conscious and anxious, and are at a greater risk for eating disorders and excessive weight gain.  So how do you implement healthy eating habits and a love of movement without enforcing a negative body image?  Here are 5 easy ways to get started.
1.       Be a role model.  Parental body image is a strong influence on kids.  If you constantly talk about how you do not like how you look, or how you need to be on a strict diet, your kids will absorb these messages.  Conversely, if you shift your focus to health and positivity, your kids will follow. Talk about how your strong legs helped you walk miles this weekend, or how much you love cooking and trying out new ingredients from the farmer’s market.
2.       Shift your perspective.  Unfortunately, so much of health talk revolves around weight loss.  Weight loss, however, is not a measure of health.  Kids especially do not need to worry about counting calories or restricting intake, the focus instead should be on fun movement and healthy, varied meals.  You might notice that shifting the focus for your kids actually improves your own health and energy.
3.       Find an activity that your kids enjoy.  While some kids enjoy team sports, they are certainly not a good fit for everyone.  Encourage your kids to find an activity they love, and support them in doing so.  Maybe finding a more individual activity, like yoga or walking, is a better fit for your child. It does not matter what activity your kids do, it just matters that they are doing something, 
4.       Be involved.  Weight-related teasing is a big cause of bullying.  Talk to your kids about it, and encourage your school to address this issue and support education that promotes health at every size. 
5.       Address body image in the media.  While you are the biggest influence on your kid’s health, media images affect even young kids.  Have conversations with your kids about how ads on television and in magazines are not realistic and may be retouched and manipulated.
                With these tips in mind, you will be able to help foster a healthy body image for your kids (and yourself)!  If you need more support, visit us at KareBoost Health to find out how programs like family yoga and nutrition counseling can play a part in developing a positive body image and good health. 
Come make an appointment with our Health Coach and Behaviorist to help your child feel better about him or herself!!
Greg Bing, M.Ed., A.C.E. Certified Trainer, Youth Fitness Specialist
Kara Unal JD, RYT
KareBoost Health