How can I help my child be body confident?

Body image can be an issue for many of us, but especially children and teenagers. As they go through physical changes, they can become conscious of what their body is doing and what they look like.

You can help your child or teen to love themselves and their body.

Be aware of your language

Try not to use the word “weight” with your child. Talk about self-care, feeling healthy and foods and exercise that give you energy. If you do need to talk about weight, make sure your child knows it’s only one measure of health.

Talk about how there are many different body shapes and sizes and that’s OK. Be positive about people of all shapes and sizes in real life and in the media or on TV.

Help your child value what makes them unique

Show your child what makes them special. Give them the confidence to be OK with anything that they think makes them different.

  • Get your family to list their achievements, talents and positive behaviour. Keep the list updated.
  • Reward your child for who they are. For example, praising their kindness, or saying you love their jokes.
  • Read books together about being unique, such as Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr Seuss.
  • Be aware of how your child feels about themselves and how to support-self esteem.

Support body confidence as they grow

Set a good example

Think about how you talk about your own body. Try not to talk about dieting in front of your child. Show self-love. How you treat yourself affects how your child treat themselves now and in the future. You can also:

  • Make healthy choices about food. Try not to buy crisps, cakes and biscuits . Have healthy snacks available.
  • Encourage your child to do sports and exercise with you or with other children.
  • Grow fruit and vegetables in pots and baskets so they learn where food comes from.
  • Get creative in the kitchen with your child. They’ll be more likely to try new foods and tuck in to what they’ve made.
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This advice was written by our experienced Parent Talk coaches. Parent Talk is a free online service for parents and carers, provided by the charity Action for Children. For more advice, message our parenting coaches with our online chat.

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