Teaching self-confidence and body acceptance at a young age is CRUCIAL.
Here are 10 expert ways to be a positive role model for your kids so that they grow up healthy, strong and confident about their looks:
1. First of all, love your own body.
If you don't feel good about your own body, it will be difficult for your kids to feel good about theirs. Remember: we are our kids's guides. — Jennifer Kelman
2. Pay attention to how you speak ABOUT your body in front of your child.
How often do you say things like, "I'm so fat"? If you speak like that about your body, your child will begin to parrot those exact sentiments. — Jennifer Kelman
3. Remember that fat is not a feeling ...
When we say things like, "I feel so fat" we teach our kids to use their bodies to describe their feelings. Eating disorders and poor body image develop when feelings are suppressed and too much emphasis is placed on the body instead of allowing real feelings (sadness, happiness, anger) to emerge. —Jennifer Kelman
4. ... and that skinny does NOT mean healthy.
Regardless of what you weigh, your lifestyle determines your overall health. Anyone can be skinny if they starve themselves or follow strange diets, but skinny does NOT mean healthy. Teach your kids to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and manage their stress to achieve optimal health. — Cory Couillard
5. Don't be the food police!
Rather than acting like the food police, pull back a bit. There's NO need for policing if you know you're putting healthy meals on the table! The more you focus on food, the more your child will too ... and not in a good way. — Jennifer Kelman
6. BUT consider getting rid of the junk food.
A healthy diet is only achievable if you do not have the bad options (*cough* ice cream, soda, chips *cough*) in your pantry. Obviously your kids are going to go for the junk rather than the carrot sticks if it's there. So clean that pantry out! — Cory Couillard
7. Get your kids involved in sports.
This is one of the greatest ways to instill positive body image. Kids gain self-esteem through sports (and other physical activities) because sports teach them to love their bodies for what they can do—rather than how they look. — Jennifer Kelman
8. And begin to incorporate healthy "family time" activities.
Kids are a product of their environment. You're teaching your kids healthy habits when you regularly incorporate fun and healthy family acitivities. Anytime you associate positive emotions with healthy activities, you improve the chances of creating long-term, healthy behaviors. — Alicia Cramer
9. Create a safe-zone for expressing feelings.
It is important for your kids to feel safe communicating with you. Kids often hold in their feelings and wind up thinking there's something wrong with them, which contributes to self-worth challenges. However, frequent and open communication enables kids to learn from negative experiences WITHOUT internalizing them negatively. — Alicia Cramer
10. DON'T be a Negative Nancy.
Imagine that every negative comment you mutter about your body is a scorpion bite with venom. Avoid bad thoughts and comments at all costs! Watch: your kids will pick up on your positive vibe and become much happier in the process. — Tatiana Abend