The media has created a benchmark of attractiveness which many young people judge themselves against. A large proportion of children have internalised the societal beliefs about the ideal body. Messages about the perfect appearance are everywhere and we cannot shield our kids from them. However, we can strengthen our kid’s body confidence and their resilience against media messages.
Idealised bodies in the media and diet culture are no new phenomenons. Most of us grew up watching our mums complain about their tummy fat and jumping from one diet trend to another. This certainly didn’t help with the development of our own body image. The message that thin means worthy has been ingrained in us and is often hard to let go. But our children today are subject to even more intense pressures than previous generations.
With the rise of social media, filtered, perfect lives become more “real”. It is not the celebrity out of a fashion magazine, which promotes unattainable beauty standards, but the girl next door. While we can shield young kids from social media, preteens and teens find their way into the world of online “socialising” eventually. That’s when a new set of standards are presented to them. Sadly, those ideals are bursting with filtered beauty, ripped bodies, “clean” foods and fake news.
How can we build body confidence in children?
The key to healthy growth is consistency
Your child has a strong genetic predisposition to grow in a certain way. If you provide regular, balanced meals and snacks, and leave it up to your child to each as much or as little as they want, you generally don’t need to worry about weight.
Even if your child plots near the upper or lower end of the growth curve there is no need to be alarmed.
If they have a healthy relationship with food and their own body, chance are they will grow into the body nature intended for them.
As long as your child’s growth is consistent and predictable, they are likely doing just fine!
Children learn by immitating their parents
Your child loves you and wants to grow up to be just like you. As a natural consequence children copy and imitate your every move.
They also pick up on more nuanced behaviors. Like how you treat yourself, how you talk about your own body and how you observe other people’s bodies. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that you treat yourself with respect and acceptance.
I know this can be difficult for many people. But wherever you are on the journey of self-acceptance, a positive shift will have an immensely positive impact on your child. Being a body confident role model to your children will massively boost their relationship with their own body.
Differences make us unique and interesting
Exposing your child to a diversity of body shapes and skin colours in toys, books and media will naturally make them more accepting and less likely to judge by appearance. No matter whether our children are large, small, or anywhere in between, teaching them to show respect to themselves and others is important.
For a list of body diverse resources for children, follow this link.
Introducing children to diversity through books, games, toys and films helps them realise that we’re all humans. The differences in how we look or dress, or what we eat or celebrate make us unique and interesting. All types of differences such as race, religion, language, traditions, and gender can be introduced this way.
You can find lots of FREE RESOURCES that will help you and your kids build body confidence!
Raising body confidence kids is not down to a single action, it’s a process .
“Verena’s non-judgemental, logical and caring approach to child nutrition has helped me relax and build confidence. Above all, she is a wonderful problem-solver and I highly recommend her for guidance on child nutrition and body confidence.." TANYA, MUM OF TWO
I have helped many parents on their journey to building healthier relationships with their body and raising body confident kids.
Get in touch and let me know how I can support YOU!