Dissatisfaction about body image is on the rise amongst young kids. It is difficult these days to keep kids away from exposure to images and media with unhealthy views about appearance. But with positive talks you can counter the effect of negative body image ideas. Home environment can positively or negatively affect a kid’s ideas about healthy body image. If they see their parents or older siblings constantly worrying about their looks and body weight, it can affect them also.
An article on parents.com has a useful tip, "When it comes to discussing food choices, avoid categorising foods as "good" vs. "bad" (which can make kids feel as though they've been good or bad) or "healthy" vs. "unhealthy." Instead, talk about "sometimes" foods and "always" foods; this can help your kids understand that some foods are better eaten in smaller quantities and less often. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, proteins, and dairy products can all be explained as "always" foods that are useful and necessary for growth and development. Sweets and fried foods can be seen as "sometimes" foods that taste good but are not healthy or necessary to help us grow."
Negative ideas about physical appearance can cause eating disorders and other behavioural or medical issues such as poor self-esteem, social isolation and depression. If not checked in time, kids with distorted views about their bodies can grow up to be adults with many psychological or physical health problems.
For more on this topic, you can read the articles in this Clipbook.
Most of the significant messages and ideas that children and young people develop about their bodies, body image and eating are from the adults in the families they grow up in, and not solely from the media.
As early as the first grade, children are reporting concerns and preoccupation with weight and body shape and begin to restrict food.
If your daughter's concerns about her weight or her body start to interfere with her regular habits of eating and being active, talk to your doctor.
If you want to help improve your daughter's outlook, start with your own. Avoid criticizing how you look or how others look. Treat yourself well by eating right, exercising, and taking it easy on yourself.
Kids as young as 5 years old are struggling with body image, and parents feel powerless. But it does not have to be this way. This article provides some tips on how to encourage healthy body image in children of all ages.
Mothers can follow these steps to instill a positive body image in their children (especially young girls) and help prevent eating disorders.