It’s no secret that academic performance and social skills have a direct correlation with body confidence and self-esteem.
With the pandemic looming over our schools, we’re making more and more adjustments to accommodate our students – we’re at a crossroads where we must decide how we will prevent a lapse in social-emotional learning, and ensure every learner is supported.
Students are using technology to socialize, play and learn. Digital learning and social media have changed what face-to-face connection looks and feels like. It’s important that educators are able to assess each student’s physical and emotional state both in-person and online.
Social media and other digital platforms provide a way for people to share content and connect with one another – it’s important to recognize the impact that these interactions can have on a child’s self-esteem. Clearly, social-emotional learning is more important now than ever.
With this in mind, the Dove Self-Esteem Project and Discovery Education joined forces to create confidence-building resources for students in grades four and five.
The free online program, called Amazing Me, gives parents and caregivers the tools to help support their students from home with cornerstone activities that promote confidence and positive body image.
What are the activities?
Well, here’s a sneak peek at some of the building blocks used in the courses to help children see themselves in a much more positive light for body confidence.
Positive Affirmation Activities
When students become frustrated with their body image, for example, the mind may decide to take the negative self-talk and run with it.
Keeping reminders of positive sayings, quotes, or compliments handy is a way to break the cycle of negative self-talk.
Sometimes all it takes is a few kind words to change perspective.
Calling Out Body Image & The Media
Selfies, social media influencers, and celebrities are everywhere. Without even realizing it, the images of these people can shape the way a child sees him or herself. It can also affect their idea of how they think they should look and act.
Children may view influencers as perfection. It’s important for them to understand that these images are not as raw as they may think. In fact, many celebrities may actually only appear in photoshopped images.
Pointing this out to a youngster can be eye-opening!
Language Usage for Body Images
When adults speak negatively about their own bodies, children pick up on it, and soon, they might start judging themselves against these harsh criticisms.
While it can take practice, adults should focus on positive body talk to help teach youngsters that it’s ok to like their bodies, and they don’t have to uncover something negative to complain about.
This shift in thinking and speaking must be a conscious one, and it’s understandable that it will take time to unlearn the negativity adults carry with them their entire lives. But it’s imperative to help stop the cycle for our students and children.
Focus on Accountability and Regret
Bullying is also wrapped into body image negativity. The bully, and the victim, may both struggle with their body image.
The bully may feel bad about themselves and project their negativity on the victim.
Understanding the consequences of their actions, especially when it comes to speaking negatively about someone else’s image, will go a long way in a child’s social-emotional development.
Asking children to think about a time they said something hurtful to someone and wished they hadn’t will help them understand the power of their words. Activities like this can help shape the decisions children make about what to say, and what not to say to others.
During a time of social-distancing, teaching children to be comfortable in their own skin is just as important as teaching acceptance and tolerance for the differences of others.
Teaching children to understand how opinions are formed through upbringing, culture, and other experiences can help them to develop compassion for others, as well as themselves.
Learning With Others
Lastly, children can learn along with other children through a virtual field trip where peers talk about how to live more positively and accept themselves and others more freely.
Each of these cornerstone activities can help your students find peace with their bodies and take responsibility for their feelings, emotions, and actions.
So on your next family game night, get together with the kiddos and help your children take charge of their body image so they can love and care for their bodies as they grow.
The Dove Self-Esteem Project and Discovery Education have created 10 free family activities and a virtual field trip that include these pillars of positivity (and many more) that are important to a child’s social-emotional learning. These educational activities showcase other children, just like them, peeling back the layers of self-love.