Your child needs to understand what a positive body image is and parents often need guidelines to install this. Here are a few steps to make your child aware of what a positive body image entails.
Related article: The 10 Most Powerful Things You Can Say to Your Kids
In today’s image conscience society it is so important that parents make sure children grow up with a positive outlook on their appearance. Boys and girls can suffer from eating disorders and self –hate as a result of poor body image. By teaching your child that being healthy and loving the body they are in will ensure that they will grow up happy, confident and self-respecting.
Be an example
Children follow your example not your words. If you are going to be convincing in telling your child that they should be healthy, you need to be the beacon of light that guides them in that direction. Make sure not to talk negatively about yourself as they will pick up on that negativity and start to feel the same about their own bodies.
Compliment them on how they look.
Children need this especially when they go through their developmental stages. Body change really affects them both physically and mentally so a nice compliment will definitely boost their confidence.
Talk about what a healthy relationship with food is.
Ask them what they think the right way to eat is. What it means to be hungry or emotionally hungry. What are the right sorts of foods they should eat and avoid that will aid their growing bodies. When they learn that some food is good and that they shouldn’t punish themselves for having something unhealthy, they will grow up knowing how to eat a balanced diet.
Find an activity they might enjoy. Get your child interested in doing a sport or a dance class and get them playing outside. Don’t make them feel they need to exercise for weight loss but rather highlight the importance of social interaction, health and most importantly- having fun.
Be media savvy.
The images of actors/actresses, sports stars, musicians and other famous people you child may look up to are almost always never the true reflection of how they actually look. With publications excessively photoshopping celebrities, as a parent who knows better, you need to inform your child that what they see is not reality. Teach them that the media manipulates things to make them more attractive and that does not mean that how they look is inferior. They are PERFECT the way they are.
Written by: Busi Nhlapo