How do you raise body-positive kids? Influencer moms share tips for raising kids who love the skin they're in

·7 min read
Allison Kimmey, a Florida mom of two, has been on a journey to make peace with her lifelong weight struggles since learning her second-born child was a girl.
Allison Kimmey, a Florida mom of two, has been on a journey to make peace with her lifelong weight struggles since learning her second-born child was a girl. "I started to imagine all the ways I didn't want her to be like me," she says of her decision to give up dieting. (Photo: Allison Kimmey)

Regardless of how society, our social media feeds and models in the magazine aisle may make us feel about our shape and size, there are some women out there who have grown tired of traditional beauty standards. Happy with the skin they're in, they embrace their physical appearance and share their body positivity journey with the world through blogs and social media posts. But for body-positive women who are also moms, their most important audience lives within their own home.

Amanda Taylor, co-host of YouTube show The Geekly Show and mom of two from St. Louis, Mo., says she struggled with her weight throughout her life, eventually opting for weight loss surgery and losing more than 170 pounds. Still, she was unhappy with her body.

"I would look into a mirror and still see an overweight girl and see all the flaws," Taylor says. "Loving myself and my body was a much slower journey than losing weight: It took me a while to realize not to be embarrassed of my flaws and to choose to highlight my strengths."

Amanda Taylor says she lost more than 170 pounds through weight loss surgery, but still struggled to love her body. Now, she works to keep her kids in a body-positive mindset. (Photo: Amanda Taylor)
Amanda Taylor says she lost more than 170 pounds through weight loss surgery, but still struggled to love her body. Now, she works to keep her kids in a body-positive mindset. (Photo: Amanda Taylor)

Krystin Godfrey, a family travel expert who shares tips and advice on Instagram, spent her younger years as a dancer, where she says she prided herself in her ability to keep her body "fit and strong." When she became a mom as a teen, however, her relationship with her body changed.

"In the middle of those crucial teenage years where most girls are newly discovering themselves as women, I found myself already a mother," she says. "As a teen mom I grappled with the reality that my once fit young body all of a sudden sported the stretch marks and scars that often walk hand in hand with motherhood."

Since then, the Birmingham, Ala. mom of four says she's been on a journey to balance the knowledge that she's lucky to have a healthy body that "allows her to chase her babies, love her man and travel the world," with the feelings of self-doubt that still creep in.

"It's in those moments I remind myself finding self love and body positivity is truly a journey," Godfrey tells Yahoo Life, "a journey where I can look at my beloved children and remind myself the stretch marks and scars are proof my womb literally grew to give life to my four greatest blessings, a journey of remembrance that the softness I feel allowed my body to be sole nourishment for my babies for years on end. It's a journey of strength, wonder and yes, one of self-love, and I think I'm OK with walking this particular journey all the way to the end."

Krystin Godfrey, an Alabama mom of four, says becoming a mom in her teens threw her for a loop as far as building a healthy body image. Now, she works to appreciate her body for the love it can give and the places it takes her. (Photo: Krystin Godfrey)
Krystin Godfrey, an Alabama mom of four, says becoming a mom in her teens threw her for a loop as far as building a healthy body image. Now, she works to appreciate her body for the love it can give and the places it takes her. (Photo: Krystin Godfrey)

Florida mom of two Allison Kimmey is on a similar journey, and says before her second child, a daughter, was born, she maintained "a lifelong effort to be thin."

"When I found out my second born was a girl, I started to imagine all the ways I didn't want her to be like me," she admits. "I decided in order for her to not go through the body image turmoil I did, I needed to find acceptance for myself first. After coming to peace with my changing body and embracing that my larger body meant I was living a fuller life, I let myself slowly live bigger and bolder."

For Kimmey, living bigger and bolder includes sharing everything from fashion tips to her Allie Attempts video series, where she attempts activities plus-sized women often shy away from like riding a stationary bike and paddle boarding, on Instagram and TikTok, where she has a combined total of nearly 400,000 followers. Kimmey and her daughter also recently worked together on a book: Empowered Girls: Activities and Affirmations for Empowering Strong Confident Girls.

So how do these body-positive moms spread self-love to their kids? Yahoo Life asked these confidence mavens for their tips on raising body-positive children.

Your words have power

When it comes to raising kids who love their bodies, one of the most important things parents can do is love their own.

"Lead by example," says Taylor. "My kids will never hear me say I look fat or ugly. If anything, they have made comments about my extremely high confidence: I am constantly saying, 'I look cute,' or something to that effect."

"My voice will likely become [my kids'] inner self-talk and I try to use that responsibility for good," Godfrey adds.

Krystin Godfrey says because she knows her voice will become her kids' inner voice, she speaks positively about her body and appearance around them. (Photo: Krystin Godfrey)
Krystin Godfrey says because she knows her voice will become her kids' inner voice, she speaks positively about her body and appearance around them. (Photo: Krystin Godfrey)

Kids are always watching

"I don't know about your kids, but mine are watching my every move," Godfrey shares. "Because of this I try to model a healthy relationship with my body in every way. From the food I eat to the way I move, I recognize the way I view my body affects my kids more than I'll ever know, so why wouldn't I seek to teach them to love and celebrate the beautiful skin they're in?"

Diversify the bodies kids see

Kimmey says it's important for kids to see all types of bodies represented in their homes from an early age.

"Diversify what they see," she says. "Make sure they are seeing a variety of bodies: different shapes, colors, abilities, genders and more in the books they read, the shows they watch and even in people you follow on the internet that they may see. It's important to know there are so many different people and they are all worthy and good."

Keep food morally neutral

"In our house," Kimmey explains, "there are no 'good' or 'bad' foods. We talk about the nutritional value in terms of what the foods will provide for our body, such as energy for movement. Or maybe it just tastes really good."

Kimmey and her daughter worked together on a book designed to empower young girls to love themselves. (Photo: Allison Kimmey)
Kimmey and her daughter worked together on a book designed to empower young girls to love themselves. (Photo: Allison Kimmey)

Be careful with compliments

Taylor says she's careful about the qualities she celebrates in her kids. "I always focus praise on characteristics like kindness, generosity and assertiveness versus commenting on appearances," she says.

Kimmey says it's also important to be careful how you speak about others to your children.

"Try your best not to only compliment your child, but others on their appearance," she says. "When the focus is so heavy on how people look, kids will look for their worth in that. Applaud their efforts, their talents and their behavior, and teach them their body is the least interesting thing about them."

"Above all," Kimmey adds, "this journey is about acceptance of self and others and understanding that all bodies are different and that's the beauty of this world. That and that our bodies are the vehicle to living our best lives regardless of how they look."

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