Lifestyle

How to Help Your Child Foster Self-Love Through Movement & Exercise and Movement.

December 1, 2021

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I'm a naturopathic pediatrician based in Colorado Springs offering primary care, chronic care & telemedicine appointments. I'm so glad you're here!
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By Andrea Testa of Testa Wellness

Let’s dive right in. It’s difficult seeing your child struggle with confidence, self-love, and body image.

Self-esteem- we’ve all heard it but what does it really mean? Self-esteem, in the simplest form, is liking and believing in yourself. Those with high self-esteem have confidence and are in tune with their capabilities and limitations (and they’re okay with it!).

Why is self-love important?

Practicing self-love and truly believing in oneself is crucial and needs to be an integral part of your child’s upbringing. Kids who feel good about themselves are more likely to be social and try new things. They pick themselves up after making a mistake and are willing to try again. Kids with low self-confidence may be more likely to give up or not even try at all. Less-confident children struggle with assertiveness and may allow others to treat them poorly.

How can I tell how my child is feeling about themself?

Kids with self-esteem:

  • Proud of themselves
  • Willing to try new things
  • Less discouraged when they make a mistake
  • Don’t worry so much about peers opinions

Kids with low self-esteem:

  • Self-critical
  • Difficulty making mistakes
  • Dwell on mistakes more than successes
  • Feel like they aren’t as good as other kids

And this goes without saying- ASK! Talk to your child and ask them how they are feeling and do your best to truly listen.

How movement & exercise can foster self-love:

Exercise has been proven to improve depression and anxiety symptoms in both children and adults. On the same note, participating in regular activity has been proven to increase academic scores in children, therefore, increasing children’s level of efficacy.

Team-based sports can be an incredible way to improve your kiddos self-esteem. The sense of belonging and camaraderie that comes from working with a team is undeniable and when kids are having fun while exercising, they are more likely to continue. Unstructured play can be just as beneficial as team-based or organized activities. Any movement is good for your child’s body and mind- the key is finding what type of exercises they enjoy!

When your child is aware of what their body is capable of, rather than how it looks, they are more likely to develop a strong level of self-love and efficacy.It’s important for your child to learn this as early as possible; they will be less likely to develop unhealthy habits if they are aware of what “health” should really look like. Overall healthier kids!

Here’s what the cycle looks like:

When kids move their bodies, it helps their mood. When kids are happy they are more likely to make good choices. When kids regularly move they sleep better, which results in better performance in school. Performing well academically, exercising regularly, and fueling their bodies well all contribute to this positive cycle!

How parents can help:

  1. Encourage your child to try new things.
  2. Be a good role model. If your goal is for your child to care for their bodies and love the skin they are in then you need to mirror that. Exercise with your child and avoid self-deprecating comments. Teach your child to love themselves just the way they are.
  3. Offer your child praise but be mindful of how and when. For example, don’t only praise your child for receiving an A but rather, tell them how proud you are with their study habits or their determination to practice XYZ.
  4. Help others. Studies have found that acts of kindness are linked to increased feelings of well-being. A win-win!

About the Author:

Hey, I’m Andrea!

From the beginning, health and wellness have been part of my life. I grew up playing soccer and running track and to this day, I am still very active. I learned at a young age that what I fueled my body with made a world of difference on and off the field.

Combining my experience in athletics and nutrition with my experience in the pediatric medical field has been a game-changer for my mindset as a coach. I love to share my knowledge in a fun and interactive way and provide information for those in need and those who may not have easy access to wellness education.

Being a leader and a voice for others comes naturally to me and when I served as a firefighter for 10 years, I learned how to advocate for myself and those around me. I love working with children and young adults to help them create healthy lifestyle habits, develop confidence, and feel happy, overall! Find me at www.testawellness.com and on Instagram @testawellness

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