How to encourage your kids to embrace

28,000 days on the planet… that’s how many we’ve got – if we’re lucky!

And if it doesn’t sound like a lot of time, that’s because it’s not! I don’t know about you, but it only feels like last night I was dancing at the nightclub, 20 years young and not a care in the world and then I blinked and BAM – 42, 3 kids, mortgage, bills, life…. Gah – responsibilities! I sometimes even find myself on sunny days, looking at the blue skies contemplating what a great day it is to get the washing on the line – who even am I? Do you relate?

Yes, time moves fast and we mustn’t waste a minute, life is precious and so are our bodies. When I learned that body image was the number one concern for Australian children and children in other parts of the world, I was in equal parts angry and outraged, sad and heartbroken.

We weren’t born into the world hating our bodies, this was a learned behaviour, so how can we help our children to respect, love, cherish, enjoy and embrace their bodies?

My colleague Dr Zali Yager, Associate Professor in Health and Physical Education, created these tips for encouraging body positivity in your home.

1. Role model body positivity by voicing your appreciation for what your body can do.
2. Limit negative discussion about bodies in terms of weight and appearance – your own and other people’s.
3. Celebrate the diversity of different body shapes, sizes and colours.
4. Give praise that is related to function and effort over appearance and achievement.
5. Engage in fun movement and eating healthy foods because you enjoy them, not because ‘we have to’.

How is this done? Let’s break it down:

  • Hide the scales or at least don’t let your kids see you on them (best practice, get rid of them altogether).
  • Make a pact with your friends to never talk negatively about your body or the bodies of others again.
  • Walk around naked in your home – letting your kids see you comfortable in your body sends a very clear message!
  • No more DIETS – Diet is a 4-letter word and the first 3 letters spell DIE, it’s a sign for sure!
  • Move your body for pleasure and not punishment – go for the run because you love and respect your body, not because you “ate the cake!”.
  • Remove magazines or any other content from your home that isn’t ‘body positive’.
  • Eat a rainbow of food and educate your kids on how to nourish their bodies for energy and vitality. Help them to understand how different types of foods can make you feel.
  • Remove ‘good food’ or ‘bad food’ from your vocabulary.
  • Put some positive affirmations up on the fridge about diversity, inclusivity and positive body image!

I hope this helps! I know firsthand that parenting can be challenging and it certainly has it’s ups and downs so please remember to be kind to yourself and know that you’re doing your very best.

What else can I do?

Visit our Embrace Kids Book page and access the FREE Downloadable PDFs for parents and teachers.

Watch the Embrace Your Body music video with your child

Watch Embrace the documentary (available on iTunes)


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