Health and image are such important topics to talk to our children about. It is often hard to know where to start and what the right things are to say. In today’s post, our friend Cate Palmer shares her 4 Top Tips for Talking to Kids about Healthy Body Image & Nutrition.
These tips are awesome tips for children and changing the dialogue on how we see healthy body image and nutrition as adults. So check out these great tips for Talking to Kids about Healthy Body Image & Nutrition, and let us know what you think in the comments below!
4 Top tips for Talking to Kids about Body Image and Healthy Nutrition
No matter your child’s size, talking about weight and body image is very difficult for parents. You want to emphasize and explain the importance of nutrition and weight, but you don’t want to scare your child off or be the very cause of their body image issues.
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Children are very aware of weight from an early age, and being asked “Am I fat?” by your 7-year old can be truly confusing and heartbreaking. That’s regardless of whether the child is really overweight or only misguided about body image. Whatever the case, here are our 4 Top Tips for Talking to Kids about Healthy Body Image & Nutrition.
Top Tips for Talking to Kids about Healthy Body Image & Nutrition
1. Bring it up in bits
Children usually aren’t up for long, serious conversations. They’re most likely to be intimidated and just made uncomfortable when you sit them down for a big talk. Talking about health and body image first requires a positive environment where your child feels completely comfortable and, most importantly, trusting.
So, bring the conversation on in little segments here and there whenever you have the opportunity. For example, have them help you out while packing lunch for school. Use that opportunity to talk about the healthy snacks you’re packing and how they will give your kid strength throughout the day. Also, use all the (mostly negative) images in media and children’s films to bring up the topic nonchalantly.
2. Talk about health, not weight
How you choose your words is extremely important. Restrain from using words that judge appearance – fat, thin, slim, chubby – and not just while talking to your child, but all the time. Children listen and observe adults, and they’re more likely to fret about weight or develop issues if they see their parents approaching this matter in a negative, judgmental way.
Instead, talk about health and the importance of being healthy, and eating habits are a big part of that. Don’t call any snacks “fattening” or “full of calories,” but simply unhealthy.
3. Don’t be too extreme
Speaking of unhealthy snacks, don’t become a fanatic with condemning them. You want to fill your pantry and fridge with organic whole food products, but absolutely banishing “treat foods” makes them more alluring to children.
Also, they will be additionally confused when they see other people eating them. Instead, teach your child that we don’t eat these types of food every day because they don’t provide enough fuel for our brain and body to function well, and the sugars cause us to be exhausted after a while. Explain that it’s okay to eat these foods sometimes, but we eat them in small amounts, so they don’t harm our bodies.
4. Ask your child how they feel
This is an essential part. Children are often relieved to be asked that, and the conversation can go on from there. If your child is overweight, ask them if they feel good about themselves. You’ll find out other things from this, such as whether they’re being bullied at school.
If, on the other hand, you’re the one approached with that menacing “Am I fat?” question, don’t seek to reassure with words, no matter whether your child is overweight or not. This is because reassurance stops the conversation, and chances are, your child won’t trust you on it.
Instead, ask them questions because they’re likely to have a lot on their mind. Ask them why they’re thinking about this, whether they feel healthy, wish something was different, etc. Listening to them carefully will set your conversation on the right course because you will understand your child’s needs and worries.
Healthy Body Image & Nutrition
All said, the most important thing is to keep it positive, especially with overweight children, so they don’t feel stigmatized. Encouragement, kindness, and positivity are the key to meaningful and healthy conversations. Along with teaching your children kindness, show them what healthy body image and nutrition look like through your actions.
After all, you’re in this together as a family, and you need to let your child know that all the time. Health is a family matter, and you will all strive as a team to be the healthiest possible and help each other out in the process – because that’s what families do.
There ya go!
Thanks again for her 4 Top Tips for Talking to Kids about Healthy Body Image & Nutrition. Which one was your favorite piece of advice? Let us know in the comments below, and make sure to subscribe for updates, giveaways, & freebies. Just click the purple “Sign Me Up” button below!