Most of us know how hard it is to attain a healthy body image. Too short, too tall; too big, too small, the reasons for feeling bad about our bodies are endless. For kids, the pressures can be even greater as they struggle to get used to their ever-changing bodies.

Luckily, there are things that we parents can do to help our kids develop healthy body images:

  • Respect our own bodies. Kids notice everything we do – and don’t do. Take care to treat your own body with respect by eating healthy foods, getting plenty of exercise and adequate sleep. By demonstrating respect for our own bodies, our kids will be more likely to do the same.
  • Focus on function. Make time to talk about how and why our bodies work the way they do and voice gratitude when your body does what you want it to. “I am so grateful that I have a body that will take me to the top of that mountain!”
  • Ask them what they think. There are literally hundreds of opportunities to talk about body image everyday: from highway billboards, to news coverage of pop stars’ risqué outfits. When you notice one of these conversation starters, ask your kids what they think. Getting them talking not only gives you insight into their thoughts, but also gives you an opportunity to give them a dose of body appreciation.