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How to Encourage Body Confidence from Toddlerhood
We all want our kids to feel confident in themselves – proud of who they are, inside and out. Here are our top tips on teaching future generations body confidence:
Becoming a parent makes you realise just how incredible the human body is. It’s easy to take for granted what our bodies can achieve! That’s why it’s so important to put an emphasise on how lucky we are to be healthy. And to do all we can to keep our bodies in great condition. It’s not all about the ‘look’, and the earlier we can teach our children that the better!
*image Finlay Fox
Start by teaching your children about the basics of a balanced diet, how exercise helps our bodies (and mind) and generally taking more time to celebrate their bodies for all they allow. Asking them questions is a great way to get them engaged and thinking about how important our bodies are. Plus gives us a fascinating insight into their already developing beliefs about themselves.
Be careful with your words
Our words are so powerful. It’s important we’re careful with them around our children. Are we using ‘negative’ words to describe their bodies? Or focusing purely on their aesthetics? As parents we have the chance to shape the next generations way of thinking. Instead of looking at themselves and thinking… ‘I look fat/skinny/pale’ we can help them to start thinking ‘My legs are so strong’, ‘I feel full of energy’, ‘I love that my body is unique’.
*Image - Norwich, Damien Hirst. Hat Trailblazer
Teach them self care
Body confidence comes from valuing your body and you can start to teach your children how to care and value their bodies from an early age. Encouraging them to take responsibility for simple self-care acts like cleaning their teeth, washing their hair, choosing their food – we can empower them to make choices that promote health and well-being. Explaining why we do these things is important too. And if you can make self-care fun, even better!
Teach them to trust their bodies
Another great reason to hand our children (even toddlers) more responsibility is so that they learn to trust their bodies. A few ways you can help them:
- Respect their personal boundaries when it comes to things like encouraging them to give family and friends hugs and kisses
- Respect their timing on things like toilet training… Definitely easier said than done!
- Try not to force them to eat...
If we can help our children to trust their body and body signals, we help them to feel confident in their body and how it works.
*image Little Hotdog Watson wearing HAH Wonderful Top
Allow self expression
Body confidence can be boosted by the clothes we wear. Clothes that makes us feel confident are usually clothes we feel best reflect our personality, so give your child the freedom to self-express and you’ll be doing wonders for their self-esteem. Let them have fun!
Validate their body and their feelings
No matter how hard we can try to shape a positive attitude towards their bodies… kids have feelings too! And society’s/social media’s messages can be strong, contradictory and confusing. As your child grows, validate their feelings and opinions on how they look before you attempt to reframe things. I think we’ve all experienced how: when our children feel understood they’re much more likely to take our thoughts onboard!
*image Mikailahp wearing Arctic Cub Panda Pop Hat
Role model the right attitude
Most importantly, try to be the role model they need! It’s amazing how much children learn just from being around us. The language they’re picking up, the undertones they’re sensing… Be positive about your body; celebrate the possibilities it allows you, and let your Hotdogs see that you are confident in your own skin too.
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