Building Positive Body Image

Building Positive Body Image

A little girl riding her bike with two friends behindWe can all pretty much agree we want our kids to be healthy and take care of their bodies. The question we want know whether you’ve asked yourself is why do you them to be healthy? What is your motivation for wanting your child to eat well and exercise?

We can also probably agree this is not about looking like a magazine cover, not about being skinny, or about comparing our kids to others. We feel it’s really about keeping them out of the health care system, giving them the tools for feeling strong and empowered, and showing them how to make good choices for themselves. Choices that reflect a positive regard for themselves, rather than wanting approval from the outside world will create an internal motivation and focus. We want our kids to be strong and healthy vs. skinny and self-obsessed. We want to teach our kids self-love.

Here are some ways to assist your kids to approach their health from a place of self-love and enables them to build self-confidence:

  1. Be aware of your own self-talk as well as what you say in front of your kids. What is your self-talk? Do you put yourself down and make disparaging remarks about your own body? What do you say in front of the mirror when getting dressed? Do you ask your partner or others questions such as “do I look fat in this?”
  2. Teach your kids how to view themselves. Let them know how strong you think they are and help them reframe their own negative self-talk, i.e. if they complain of a part of their body they don’t like guide them to notice how it works for them and is a positive asset, or how to focus on the things they really like about themselves. Self-acceptance is key. We are all naturally built differently and appreciating our uniqueness is self-loving. Teach them how to use affirmations such as “my body is beautiful and strong.”
  3. Avail them of various activities and help them find the physical activities that they love and encourage them to do more of that.
  4. Educate yourselves and them about why eating healthy and being active are important for a happy life. For example, a healthy, balanced diet wards off common diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
  5. Teach them how to affirm themselves. Point out their accomplishments or successes. What are they grateful for? Help them be proud of what they do rather than how they look.

We are bombarded with a billion different messages through the media and the world around us. It is vital that we equip our kids with the understanding and knowledge of the real and valuable reasons to be healthy and fit, none of which have to do with body comparison or body shame. Remember, we can be our children’s best teacher!

Commit to 5K is a 10 week program that combines life coaching with run coaching to ensure that participants reach their goal-crossing the finish line at their first 5K race and establishing healthy, positive internal and external habits.  More information can be found

Guest Writers-Khatija Dadabhoy and Kristen Bell
Khatija Dadabhoy leads the life coaching portion of the program. She is a transformational counselor and coach who holds an MA in counseling. She specifically works with women who are ready to experience their inner revoluntion!!

Kristen Bell leads the running and physical fitness portion of the program. She is a certified running and triatholon coach. She’s been helping women kickstart and reach their fitness goals since 2010.

Authored by: Cindy Donnelly

Cindy has worked for What's Up for Kids for over 19 years and is thrilled to take over as owner/publisher. She loves helping South Bay parents connect with resources and working with camps, schools and other businesses to get the word out about their quality programs and services for families. For marketing information you can contact her at

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