Our daughters deserve to love their bodies

4 body-positive lessons to teach our daughters.

Our daughters deserve to love their bodies

By: Jenny Berk

Way before celebrities like Lena Dunham and Jennifer Lawrence were extolling the virtues of body positivity, we sucked it up and dieted. And way before these same actresses bucked the patriarchy by rejecting the trend of systematic societal body shaming, promulgation of an unattainable body ideal and tying our lovability and/or self-worth to our size, we just sucked it up and dieted and exercised ferociously.

While some of these societal vestiges remain, women and girls, boys and men, are becoming wise to the wily ways of societal body ideals and many are working hard in the counterculture to do something about it so that future generations of girls learn to actually love and accept their bodies at any shape. When we’re pregnant and when we’re postpartum. When we fit in the jeans and when we don’t fit in them. When we’re young and nubile and when we’re old and wrinkly.

For being body positive is to embrace diversity—not only in other people, but in ourselves! It’s just a fact that some people’s weight fluctuates. Heck, mine fluctuated just in the two weeks between Christmas and New Years!

However, unlike when you get a new haircut or adopt a new wardrobe—which seems to warrant accolades and praise—change in our bodies or weight is often the ultimate no-no.

Our girls are watching and we have an opportunity to change how they see themselves and what they consider acceptable and unacceptable in themselves.

Let the four lessons below serve as a jumping-off point for all of us to learn how to love ourselves and our ever-changing bodies unconditionally, and to have girls enter adulthood with a keen understanding of their self-worth beyond their size or appearance. For history is doomed to repeat itself when we simply accept the status quo.

1. The best way for our daughters to have a healthy and positive relationship with food is to strive to have one ourselves.

We need to work hard day in and day out to realign ourselves away from the obsessive dieting culture to one of balance and sustainability. Our kids are acutely observant and aware of what they see their moms eat (or not eat). And even though they cannot now intellectually process it, it will stay with them as they grow into adults.

Try going on a dieting hiatus, not discussing your own opinions of your appearance, and stop weighing yourself for a month. See what comes out of that.

2. Make physical activity for our daughters about how they love to move their bodies, not to conform to the standards the gym teacher at school or anyone else decided is correct.

I remember having to run a mile in gym class at school, not being able to do it, and feeling like an utter failure because of it. I didn’t realize my inner athlete resided in swimming, tennis, and, much later, kettlebells and yoga, because I was taught at a young age that running and group sports were paramount to the idea of being an athlete or being fit.

3. Emphasize that food is morally neutral.

You (and they) are not “good” if they eat salad and “bad” if they eat cookies. Food is fuel and we need to teach our daughters that certain foods make us feel energetic and healthy and others may hinder those efforts.

Let them know we are lucky because we are a species that can actually find pleasure in eating and our food choices, and we can savor and relish in different flavors. We can enjoy those special treats occasionally, even if they’re not the healthiest because part of the human experience is to create memories around birthdays and holidays, which food is a big part of (even the less healthy ones.)

4. If you notice your daughter trash-talking herself, use it as a teachable moment.

Ask her where she got that notion and why she feels that way. Take the time to explain body diversity. If she specifies a body part that she does not like, explain to her the beauty of what that body part is intended for. How it functions to serve her in some really amazing ways. Show her body-positive magazines, websites, and sources of media.

We are on the precipice of change. But it’s up to all parents to decide that it’s time to view our own relationship to our bodies in a different way than we have ever thought before. We must learn to regard our bodies and the ones of our children from a place of compassion, admiration and awe—for they house the most amazing souls inside that simply won’t shine to their fullest capacity until we can accept, love, and even be proud of the exterior.

This article was originally published on Boston Moms Blog.

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

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Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

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Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

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Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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