When children learn about body image, they develop anxiety about their appearance. This can negatively affect their mental health and have a big impact on their lives if not prevented. As a parent, you should encourage your little ones to see themselves positively when it comes to body image.
With how today’s media promotes beauty standards, it can be difficult to not think of having the ideal body image. No matter how much you try to keep your little ones away from it, they will still get the message elsewhere. Even if they are not highly exposed to the media, they can still have an idea about body image when they interact with peers or when they observe other adults around.
Words such as “I’m ugly” and “I’m so fat” can be disappointing especially when you hear it from children as young as ten, but it can be more disturbing when you hear this coming from preschoolers. These are not the things that children should be worrying about. Instead they should be enjoying their lives while they’re young rather than being unhappy about their physical appearance.
Below are some of the steps you can follow to help your children instil a positive body image and prevent eating disorders:
Practice Positive Language and Your children will Do the Same
People, especially women, may unconsciously give a lot of importance to thinness and tend to neglect their needs just to maintain their slim figure. As a parent, it’s vital to be aware when you feel bad about your own appearance and when you model negative body image. Be sure that you don’t say the words “diet” and “fat” when you’re at home. Children are easily influenced, so these comments about physical appearance can negatively affect them. This is why it’s important to teach them how to be comfortable and confident as they develop.
Also, giving compliments to their appearance will help them feel good about themselves. Avoiding negative language when it comes to your own body may be difficult since it takes a lot of effort and strength, but it’s key to raising your children to become positive of them-selves.
Accept Others’ Body Shapes and Sizes
Don’t emphasize physical appearance; otherwise, your little ones will do the same. Instead, talk to them about various aspects that make up a person – personality, talents, skills, as well as outlook in life. Of course, it’s still important to look good physically but it doesn’t always have to be all about achieving a certain level of thinness. Teach your children about different body shapes and the best clothes that would suit each body type.
Aside from that, make sure not to tease them about their looks since this will make them lose their confidence. Even nicknames that may seem harmless can affect their confidence if these focus on their appearance.
Talk about Stereotypes in Ads and Media
Don’t let your children follow everything that they see in magazines, on TV, and the internet. Commonly, these materials and ads display gender and body stereotypes. However, the photos of these people are edited to make them look thinner and match today’s beauty standards. You can discuss stereotypes by talking about what’s wrong with these images since most of these aren’t realistic and cannot be achieved.
Know their Friends and How They think about Body Image
Peer pressure can influence your children’s body image which is why it’s important to know who their friends are. If you think that their group of friends are too concerned with physical appearance, try to give your little ones the opportunity to meet other people. You can encourage them to interact with other people who focus on other things other than their appearance.
Promote Exercise and a Healthy Lifestyle
Focus on healthy eating and keeping a healthy lifestyle. Do not focus on the weight. You can spend some quality family time by being active. You can play outdoors; go to the park, ride bikes, and a lot more. When grocery shopping, opt for vegetables and fruit instead of chips or cookies for snacks; teach your little ones to read nutrition labels so they will know the food content in products before purchasing them.
Check out their Toys
This may sound strange, but your children’s view of themselves may be influenced by the toys they own. Your sons may have action figures with unnatural bulging muscles while your daughters may have dolls that show off slim yet unrealistic proportions. Try to lessen these and give them toys that replicate the human body. Better yet, give them toys that will help enhance their brains such as puzzles, board games, and good books.
Enjoying the outdoors can be more fun and exciting when playing with the Whistlecopter toy. It promotes physical activity while encouraging them to spend more time outdoors. When you purchase one Whistlecopter, it comes with its own 7-inch red rubber band, an instruction card, and the exclusive Viper Launcher. The toy has Super Glow Wings which have unique designs and bright lights. It can reach a maximum of 200 feet when launched.
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