Promoting a Healthy Body Image

Growing up in a world full of diet ads, makeover shows, and strict workout regimens is enough to make anyone think that their body isn’t good enough. Lake Forrest Prep, an Orlando private school, wants to help you to promote a healthy body image to your child. 

A smiling boy runs on a track through a field while other children run behind him.

Set a Positive Example

The way you feel about your own body can have a powerful influence on your kids. In order to encourage your child to have a healthy body image, you need to set a positive example. First, assess your own body image. If you’re often harsh or overly critical of your own appearance, you might be projecting that mindset onto your children. Treat yourself how you want your son or daughter to look at themselves. 

Praise Values and Virtues 

It’s common to compliment someone’s outfit or hair, but for children, this can cause them to become dependent on their looks. Rather than focusing on appearance, praise your children for their values and virtues. Did they put together a cool, unique outfit? Compliment them for their creativity! Praise actions such as helping their younger brother with his homework or the dedication he’s shown on the soccer team.

A mother and father helping their daughter ride a bike with training wheels

Promote Growing Foods 

Rather than focusing on weight or appearance, focus on health. Encourage eating “growing foods,”  such as whole foods, and avoid processed snacks and meals. Help your child see food as fuel for their body, and avoid labeling food as “good” or “bad.” This can encourage an unhealthy relationship with food; eating one cookie isn’t bad for you, eating an entire sleeve is! Encourage portion control and eating intuitively and mindfully. 

The Perfect Body

Between social media, television, and the internet, it can be easy for your children to assume their body needs to look a certain way. But there’s no such thing as one perfect body! Most magazines, Instagrams, and advertisements use some form of editing, whether it’s retouching, airbrushing, or something more extensive. Be honest with your children about editing — especially as they grow into puberty. Explain that there is no one ideal body size or shape; the body they have is the perfect body.

A boy wearing sunglasses, a helmet, and knee pads rides a bike over a wooden bridge on a dirt trail.

By helping your child learn to love the body they have, you can encourage self-esteem and build confidence. For more ways to encourage healthy habits into your everyday routine, check out Lake Forrest Prep’s — an Orlando private schoolblog!