How to Promote Positive Body Image in Children

Images of seemingly perfect bodies are everywhere, and children are not immune to their power of perception. Body image is how we feel about our bodies. Children can develop a positive or negative body image, and it’s up to parents to ensure theirs is the former.

Children with a negative body image may become introverted, self-conscious, and overweight or develop an eating disorder. Children with a positive body image have confidence, are healthy, and don’t obsess with food.

Promoting a positive body image will help your child realize what is real and what is healthy, and it all starts with you. The American Academy of Dietetics recommends five ways you can promote a positive body image in kids.

  1. Look in the mirror.
    - If you constantly talk about your weight, exclaim how many wrinkles you’re getting, or ask your daughter if an outfit makes your butt look big, you’re promoting a negative body image in front of your child. If you’re obsessing over your muffin top, they’ll begin to question their own looks.

  2. Focus on health.
    - Rather than concerning yourself with numbers on a scale or how your child’s size compares to others around him, focus on being healthy. Plan nutritious and delicious meals and make them part of the routine. Teach children how to prepare healthy snacks they’ll love.
    - Fit fun activities into the family schedule. Children need not worry about working out; they should be playing with friends and family. Everyone can go for a hike, a bike ride, or play tag in the back yard.

  3. Find physical activities your kids enjoy.
    - Kids who are naturally athletic can try a variety of sports they’ll love, but not everyone is a natural born athlete. Those who are better solo may enjoy biking or swimming. Some kids will thrive in karate or dance class. Find something that fits your child.

  4. Watch out for bullies.
    - Unfortunately, weight or appearance-based bullying is the norm among peers. Encourage your child’s school to develop effective anti-bullying protocols. If you suspect your child is being bullied, go to a school administrator and discuss your concerns.

  5. Let them know what’s real.
    - Teach kids that the images of seemingly perfect bodies they see on television, in magazines and online more than likely have been re-touched to represent something that isn’t real.

About the Author...
Liz Hayes
Liz loves spending time outdoors, working out, traveling, taking in the arts, reading and catching up on TV.

You must be logged in to post comments.

Password (case sensitive):
Remember Me:
$cms.template("HTML5 Vibrant Media")