Do’s and Don’t’s for promoting Positive Body Image in Children

positive body image

If you're worried about your child's attitude to food or fitness and are not sure how to promote a positive body image, there is help available.

Here are some handy tips for creating healthy habits for you and your family!



  • DO encourage your child to do things that make them happy.

  • DO talk to your child about media and social media influences.

  • DO reflect on your own attitudes to food and weight and be a positive role model.

  • DO encourage your child to listen to their body, to rest when needed and eat when hungry.

  • DO emphasise that how we look is only one part of who we are.

  • DO focus on what your child’s body can do rather than how it looks.

  • DO praise your child for their talents and positive attributes.

  • DO emphasise that healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes.

  • DO (if mentioning healthy eating) focus on balance and eating a wide range of foods and remember that food is something to be enjoyed.

  • DO think about how you see your child’s body – and how you might inadvertently influence how they feel about it.

  • DO encourage your child to spend time with friends who love them for who they are.

  • DO allow your child to be who they are, to choose their own clothes and find their own ‘likes’.
  • DON’T talk about dieting in front of children.

  • DON’T pass comment on people’s bodies in front of children.

  • DON’T promote ‘No Sugar’, ‘Clean Eating’ or any diet approach that results in guilt around food.

  • DON’T encourage excessive exercise. Emphasise the importance of rest days and listening to what our body needs.

  • DON’T focus on beauty. Be sure to emphasise the value of personality traits and qualities over appearance.

  • DON’T compare your child to others.

  • DON’T encourage ‘trying to fit in’.  Encourage your child to be who they are and to spend time with people who make them feel good.

  • DON’T endorse media beauty ideals by complimenting body shapes we see in the media.

  • DON’T label foods as “good” vs. “bad”.

  • DON’T make comparisons between body types.

  • DON’T be critical of your child in general e.g. how they do things, what they do or what they wear. Allow them to be themselves, to find their own likes and to make mistakes along the way.

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