Last week I posted a thank you to Meghan Trainor for promoting positive body image for our girls. This week, I wanted to follow up on that with some research on how to help our girls with a positive body image. According to the Center for Disease Control and National Association of Eating Disorders, by age 6 girls start to express concerns about their own weight or shape. Additionally, around half of elementary school girls are concerned about their weight or about becoming too fat.
We as parents can help our girls in several different ways.
Be role models for living a healthy lifestyle. We need to be teaching our kids about proper nutrition and how foods affect our bodies. Help our kids understand that eating fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats are for taking care of the body, not just losing weight.
Media images are not reality. We have to discuss with our girls that what Hollywood and the media promotes on TV is not reality. Explain that there is a difference between being healthy and being thin.
Help them feel good about themselves. Helping others and giving back is one of the best ways to feel good about ourselves. Let’s help our kids find ways to give back and let them feel the positive emotions that this creates within.
Don’t voice our concerns over our own weight. If we need to lose a few pounds, we don’t want to verbalize this in front of our kids. Make the necessary changes in our own lifestyle to lose the weight in a positive healthy way. Believe me, our kids will take notice that we are living a healthier lifestyle.
Surround the kids with positive influences. Be sure we do not allow good intentioned family members or friends to say anything to our kids about their weight. Help the kids to have positive role models in their life.
Purge the kitchen of junk food. Having “treats” around the house is tempting for all of us, so make sure that we are keeping healthy snacks that are prepared in the kitchen. When you come home from the grocery, cut up some fruits and vegetables and have them ready to go for the kids.
Get active. Play with your kids. Get out in the yard or go to the park and play ball. Ride bicycles along your favorite path. Take the family for walks together. This not only encourages exercise, but also family talking time.
Cook with your kids. My kids have always loved to be in the kitchen cooking with me. Look up recipes with your kids, Pinterest has great ideas, on how to cook healthy meals and let them participate. They will take more interest in their new healthy lifestyle when they feel that they are contributing.
Our kids need our help and guidance in this world. If you have a child who is struggling with body image or eating disorder you can check the National Eating Disorders website to get ideas on how to help your child.
Make sure to plan at least 2-3 activities this week with your child for play and exercise. Have a great week and share your AWESOME with the world.