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A Parent’s Guide to… mental health and body image

How children think and feel about their bodies can have a huge impact on their wellbeing

At BeeZee Bodies, we’re very aware of how body image can impact mental health, particularly in young people.  

So, what can you do to support your children’s mental health and body image? Here are some practical tips from our family nutritionists: 

1. Create a safe space

Being open with your children will show them that it’s healthy to talk about mental health and body image. Only 38% of parents* said they feel confident doing so, but it can make a real difference.

2. Encourage a healthy lifestyle 

Instead of focusing on weight, concentrate on building healthy habits. Encourage your children to eat a balanced diet, get enough sleepand engage in regular physical activity. 

3. Tell your child why they are special

Avoid negative comments about body shapes and sizes. Instead, focus on complimenting positive attributes which have nothing to do with physical appearance.

4. Be a positive role model

Be a role model for your children by eating a balanced diet, exercisingregularlyand avoiding crash diets or extreme exercise routines. Eating well should be about being healthy, not losing weight. 

 5. Practice ‘everything in moderation

Try not to label food as good or bad, all food is fine to eat in moderation. Teach your childrento find a healthy balance where they’re full, energised and happy at the same time.

 6. Limit social media

The NHS recommends that screen time is limited to 2 hours per day, so it’s worth considering how much your children use it. A study also found that 87% of young people had been negatively affected by social media in relation to body image*. 

7. Teach media literacy

Help your children understand that what they see in the media is often not real and that everyone’s body is unique, regardless of mixed messages online.It’stotally normal to look different to other people. 

8. Encourage physical activity

Try becoming more active as a family — focusing on fun rather than exercise. Being active not only releases feel good hormones but is also a reminder of the amazing things the body can do.

9. Seek professional health

If you are concerned about your child’s mental wellbeing, see a professional. This can include counselling or therapy with a mental health professional who specialises in body image issues. 


For more information on mental health and body image, check out these resources: