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How exercise can help raise your child’s self-esteem

We take a look at some ways that you can support your child to make the most of exercise and use it to help raise their self-esteem

Have you ever noticed that the tennis courts in parks are always busy when Wimbledon is on? Major sporting tournaments on television can inspire and motivate people to get involved in exercise or take up a new sport. The warmer weather and long summer days also help. According to the UK National Health Service, the positive benefits of physical activity include boosting self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy.

TOP TIPS FOR PARENTS

1. Try new activities together to strengthen your bond

If your child sees you exercising – and the positive effects it has on you – they're more likely to think it’s a good thing to do themselves. Find something you both enjoy or want to try out — it’s a great way to spend quality time together so your child feels they can open up to you about any body image or self-esteem issues they may be dealing with.

2. Keep your child focused on the goal

It’s great if your child develops an interest in exercise and sports, but if they’re aspiring to an unrealistic body image or you notice them criticising their own body, remind them that the aim is to stay healthy and for their body to do the job they’re asking it to do. Encourage your child to focus on how exercise makes them feel rather than how it makes them look.

3. Keep an eye on any changes in behaviour

Finding an activity your child is passionate about and strives to do well in is a good thing. But, be aware of signs that their eagerness to do well may be having a negative effect on their self-esteem, such as being self-critical, going through mood swings if they don’t ‘win’ and any extreme changes in their diet and exercise routine.

Aspiring to a ‘media perfect’ or elite athlete’s body is neither realistic, nor helpful. If your child starts criticising their body, remind them that the aim is to stay healthy, and for their body to do the job they're asking it to do

4. Use the free parent guide to start conversations with your child

The Uniquely Me parent guide from the Dove Self-Esteem Project is packed with expert advice on key topics that can affect a young person’s self-esteem and body confidence. Section 9 looks at the benefits of physical activity and includes:

  • A short article — expert information about the benefits of physical activity based on research into young people and how to raise their self-esteem.
  • An Active Action Checklist — tips to support you with making practical changes to support your child.
  • The Let’s get started… box — outlining useful ways to help you get the conversation started about the benefits of exercise.

Read more on how to show your child the benefits of exercise. 

Download your FREE 40-page parent guide to boosting your child's self-esteem here

This downloadable pdf contains expert advice from Dove Self-Esteem Project global experts from the fields of psychology, body image, self-esteem, eating disorders and media representation to create a resource for parents that is focused on advice and action.  

Teachers: for free downloadable teaching resources, go to the Dove Self-Esteem Project area on ParentZone.org.uk

These pages are brought to you by Parent Zone and the Dove Self-Esteem Project

The advice published on Parent Info is provided by independent experts in their field and not necessarily the views of Parent Zone or NCA_CEOP.

Image: Pixabay 

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