How to Teach Kids Self-Confidence By Modeling It Yourself
Use these tips from life coach Jenny Gaither to help your mini find their inner Lizzo—and they'll help you fine-tine your self-talk in return
Jenny Gaither, a badass life coach and SoulCycle pro, created the Movemeant Foundation to empower women and girls through fitness and enable them to reap all the mind-body boosting it brings. Through the foundation, Gaither aims to "give girls permission to be whatever they want to be.”
Just think about how many body image hang-ups, eating disorders, and beyond could be prevented if we start girls on a confident path young? Here. 👏 For. 👏 This. 👏 (Speaking of which, for when you're feeling a bit less-than-Lizzo confident, here's how to boost your mojo in 5 easy steps.)
So how does Gaither pump up her own self esteem—and the confidence of other women and girls she meets?
Self-Confidence Tip 1: Lead by example with an active lifestyle.
“Your habits will dictate the habits your kids form. Set an example by moving often, and make sure they see you doing it. Also, inviting your kids to work out with you once in a while is a great bonding experience, and it can motivate them to exercise on their own," Gaither says. (Start with these creative workout moves you can do with your kiddos.)
"Better yet, once you commit to displaying good habits and a positive self-image—whether it comes naturally or not, whether you believe it or not—that will start to reshape your thought process and frame of mind as well.” (Related: This Woman Climbed the Seven Summits and Is Using Her Platform to Empower Young Girls)
Self-Confidence Tip 2: Explore new exercise options.
“Encourage your kids to try all sorts of activities because they might be surprised by what they fall in love with. If your daughter isn’t into tennis, move on. My parents tried to get me into sports, but dance was where I felt powerful," Gaither says. (Fresh air is often an amazing escape from the pressures of school and the office, too; give these 10 outdoor workout ideas a go.)
"Whether she’s on a soccer field or in ballet, help her tap into herself in a way that’s not about looks or body type but the grit that comes from within," she adds. "Use praise that isn’t about her performance, like, ‘You were so strong out there!’” (Related: Fitness Companies Making Kids More Active)
Self-Confidence Tip 3: Walk the walk on body positivity.
“Girls need to know they have permission to be wherever they’re at with their bodies, and that it’s just fine. Show your kids what a healthy relationship with your body looks like: The goal is to avoid not only negative comments about your bodies but any talk about appearance," Gaither says. (Remember: You can't hate your body into being healthier.)
"We get into the habit of analyzing our bodies, but there’s really no positive outcome to the constant self-criticism. Recognizing this will help rewire your thoughts to develop a confident consciousness,” she says.
Shape Magazine, November 2019 issue