26 Sep 5 Tips to Help Raise Your Child in a Body Positive Way
38% of 4-year-old girls are dissatisfied with their bodies. Pretty Foundation encourages girls to believe in themselves and learn to love being different. The Foundations’ new book aims to give girls confidence while recognising that their individual talents and abilities can enable them to step into their potential and achieve incredible things.
- Value personal qualities other than appearance.
As a parent, it’s important to amplify the traits and values that truly matter and shape our children; to let them know they are so much more than the way they look. This can be achieved by emphasising the aspects of our children that are not appearance-related, like their personality traits, humour, and kindness. By taking opportunities to compliment them on positive behaviours, we can teach them that developing a good sense of character is far more important than the numbers on the scale. Teasing or being negative about their appearance, particularly their weight, should always be avoided. Instead, focus on communicating unconditional love and acceptance to your child in a variety of verbal and nonverbal ways, to let them know they are valued for exactly who they are.
- Acceptance of diversity.
Humans are incredibly diverse. We’re all made to be different shapes and sizes, and we can help our children feel confident about their own appearance by admiring and celebrating the diversity around us. By teaching our children that everyone has different characteristics and qualities, we can help them understand that beauty comes in many forms, and in turn, help them feel confident in their own skin. Try to avoid speaking critically about other people’s body shapes and appearances around your child too. Instead, take the opportunity to point out that everyone has something special to offer, and should be respected regardless of their size, shape, appearance and abilities.
- Health is more important than appearance.
It’s important for parents to focus on fostering healthy behaviours in their children in relation to food and exercise, rather than focusing on their weight or appearance. This will give your child the opportunity to appreciate their body for what it can do, rather than what it looks like. By concentrating on eating delicious foods, taking part in fun physical activities, enjoying regular meals, and learning how to make balanced, nutritious choices, we can help our children adopt healthy eating behaviours and positive attributes towards food at an early age.
- Remember that you are a role model.
Parents can be a crucial source of positive or negative messaging for their children from a young age. That’s why it’s important to speak respectively about your own body and appearance, as well as others, and avoid negative body talk in the home. Start by examining your own attitudes and beliefs about body image, and consider how they may be shaping your child’s own body image development. Refraining from negative comments about our own weight or appearance is important. This is to avoid our children from developing the notion that certain body types are unworthy or unacceptable. It’s also important to steer clear from talking about dieting and exercising for weight loss in the home, as this may encourage weight change behaviours in our children as they get older.
- Read with your daughter.
Another great way to open up a conversation around the thoughts and feelings your child has about their body is to read with them. You can now find fantastic body-positive books which can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. One such book is Charlie’s Tales: The Sprites and the Heart Flower, a new children’s book from the Pretty Foundation; a leading Australian not-for-profit focused on the prevention of negative body image issues in two to six-year-old girls. The book tells the story of a young girl named Charlie, who goes on a magical adventure to see the Heart Flower bloom with her friends, ‘the Sprites’. Along the way, Charlies and the Sprites employ the special talents and abilities of their bodies to complete the journey; teaching children to celebrate different body types with varying abilities.
Pretty Foundation have just launched the fourth book in our Charlie’s Tales series! Charlie’s Tales: The Sprites and the Heart Flower celebrates body diversity and aims to teach girls to appreciate their bodies and all the wonderful things which make them unique.
Charlies Tales: the Sprites and the Heart Flower
is available to purchase for $10.00 at