It’s 2020 and we’re seeing a ton of girl power all over the place. From stories of women reaching new heights in their industries to powerful women’s marches; from new records being set to women breaking new ground and setting new standards for the next generation, this is an exciting time for girls growing up and looking ahead to a brighter future.
However, we’re also in a time when we are being flooded with images of perfection 24/7. With today’s tech, bullying has gone beyond public places and has followed kids into their homes and into their private lives with the rise of cyberbullying. It’s important now more than ever to really work with your daughter to instill body positivity and a strong, confident mindset. Here are some ways to help your daughter have a healthy body image as she grows up:
Have a Heart-to-Heart
There’s nothing more important than establishing a home environment in which your child can really open up to you and tell you what they’re feeling and thinking. It can be intimidating for a child to tell their parents things if they feel they are being monitored or that you’re looking for opportunities to scold them. Do your best to keep an open mind and don’t punish them for telling you the truth. Talk to your daughter about all things, such as the changes her body will be going through including puberty and any growing pains. Let her express what insecurities she may have and help her understand that she was made unique - that no one else in this world is like her - and that she is beautiful just as she is. Also, talk about any women she might be looking up to and discuss how or why they look the way they look versus her. Explain to her that celebrities have huge budgets and teams of people helping them look the way they look.
Limit Screen Time
Even for adults, scrolling for hours through timelines filled with botox-ed faces, lipo-ed bodies, full face makeup, filters, waist trainers, fake lashes and so much more can really start to chip away at our egos. Imagine what it can do to children and teens who may not know how much of it all is an illusion! Limit how much time your daughter is allowed to use social media. Monitor what’s happening on there, who she’s talking to and what she’s looking at. Have open discussions about it all. Once her mind starts going into comparison, you’ll have your work cut out for you.
Keep your daughter active as much as possible. Get her involved in anything from volleyball to basketball, dance classes to cheerleading to karate, horseback riding or yoga. Whatever she’s interested in, it’s part of a healthy lifestyle to keep moving. Instilling this as a regular part of her day will increase the chances that she will carry this into her adult life. It will also teach her the importance of her body, of every muscle as she uses it. Studies have also shown that regular exercise stimulates the release of serotonin which boosts the mood and sense of overall well-being. The exercise will help keep her immune system in tact and help weight control and toning. If your daughter hasn’t been involved in anything active thus far, make an outing out of it. Grab a set of cute matching mommy and me sports bras and leggings and hit a yoga class together! Show her your support by doing it alongside her.
Keep her Diet Healthy
Exercise is only half the battle; the other half is a healthy diet. Ensure that she’s eating a well balanced, nutritious diet with little to no high fructose items or highly processed foods. Do your best to keep fresh, organic foods and keep the carb and sugar intake to a minimum. Cut out sodas and pre-packaged juices and try replacing with infused waters using fresh fruits and herbs, if possible, or freshly blended juices. Make eating healthy the norm in your household! She’ll very likely carry this on into her adult life.