Children Body Image: Fostering a Healthy Self Image

Children body image is an important topic for mothers. You can be saving your child from serious disorders and illnesses simply by creating an environment that helps them feel confident. As parents, we must be educated on how our children develop a sense of self and how we can help them develop a positive body image.

Children start to develop an understanding of their bodies from the time they are born. Through touch and affection from mommy and daddy, our children will start to develop a positive body image or a negative body image if there is lack of family love.

As children grow older, they will continue to develop an understanding of self, which is influenced by their social and cultural environment. According to kidshelp.com, children as young as 6 years old can express a dissatisfaction of their body image and even attempt to lose weight. The good news is that our children’s body image is greatly dependent on what we mentally “feed” our children.

HOW TO PROMOTE A POSITIVE CHILDREN BODY IMAGE

EDUCATE THEM!

Teach your child that everyone is different, not only in their body, but in every way. People are tall or short, silly or serious, skilled in sports or music etc. This will help them put body image in its proper life perspective.

BEWARE OF EMPHASIS AND VALUE

The word “fat” or “large” is neither a negative nor a positive word. It is just a way of describing something in proportion to other people or objects. For example, an adult sized bottom is “fat” in comparison to a toddler’s bottom. The reason why many people think “fat” is negative is because our culture has already placed a value on the word, making it negative. Feel free to use any word just don’t add any specific value or emphasis to the word.

FOCUS ON BEHAVIORS VERSES BODY

Let your child see and hear you compliment others on their behaviors and internal characteristics rather than their looks. Remember your child is always hearing and watching! When you greet a friend try saying something like, “Wow, you look very happy!”

If someone is complimenting your child on how cute, pretty or handsome s/he looks, add to the compliment by saying, “She’s also very helpful too! She did a great job helping mommy…”

MONITOR CULTURAL CONSUMPTION

It’s not just about TV anymore! We need to monitor and/or limit all cultural influences including books, magazines, movies, social media, cell phone use, music, videos, computer games and the internet. What is your child consuming? Are the images appropriate? Do they praise a certain image? Are they promoting a healthy body image? Set boundaries and limits. Studies continue to show that excessive media consumption can lead to a poor body image, so keep it to a minimum and watch out for those sneaky advertisements too!

PARTNER WITH YOUR SCHOOL

Whenever it is possible, be involved with your child’s body image and health education. Talk to your child’s teacher about incorporating topics and activities that promote self-esteem and self-image.

PERSONAL ATTITUDES AND ACTIONS

Do you have a positive body image? Your attitude towards your own body will influence your child’s idea of body image. Be sure that you are setting a good example by loving yourself and treating your body right through healthy eating and exercise.

KEEP AN OPEN DIALOGUE

Talk to your children regularly about their day, their life, and their experiences, and be a great mother and a friend. This will encourage your child to come to you when they are facing challenges in regards to their image. You will also stumble upon great conversations having to do with children body image.

FUN WAYS TO PROMOTE A POSITIVE BODY IMAGE IN CHILDREN

Do you have a fun or creative way of promoting a positive body image in your son or daughter? Help other mothers boost their children’s self-esteem and share your advice below.

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