Why does this matter?
It is good for a child’s emotional well being to have confidence in their body. Children with a healthy body image are more willing to engage in physical activity, have been mental health and are less vulnerable to disorders with eating – or yo-yo dieting.
Some children will always be bigger or smaller than others. Sometimes, our weight does reflect eating too much or too little for our needs. However, much of our body size and shape is determined by our genes and our environment.
Anyone can get healthier
Health gains are possible for children of all shapes and sizes. The following tips should help your child develop a healthy body image:
- Encourage your child to value differences in appearance
- Talk about personal qualities not related to appearance – e.g., kind, polite, generous, etc
- Help children become resilient to appearance based comments
- Limit your child’s access to media that idealises beauty or particular body shapes
- promote physical activity as a source of fun, rather than to change how your body looks
Be a good role model!
- Don’t encourage your child to believe that losing weight will make you or them happier
- Don’t be critical of your own or other people’s appearances
- Don’t make jokes about body shape even at your own expense
- Don’t talk about “dieting” or calorie counting