Body image is such a major component of a way a person feels about who they are. Looks shouldn’t be considered everything. Unfortunately, in today’s society, they are. As a result, it’s not uncommon for many children to develop an unhealthy sense of self or body image. In order to thwart this, consider these four ways you can help your child develop a healthy body image.
Be an Example of Health and Self-Love
Your child is watching you. They pick up on the most subtle habits. Watch the way you speak about yourself when you’re looking in the mirror. Do you encourage yourself? Do you love your own body? It’s best to become a mirror in terms of the behaviors you want your child to develop. Take care of your body by exercising, eating well, and drinking plenty of water. When you love yourself, you invite others to do the same. When your child sees how much you love yourself, the impact can be contagious.
Teach Your Child About False Media Portrayals
In a world where Instagram models get enhancement surgeries and change their skin tones for brand deals, it’s always essential to point out to your child that much of what they see in the media doesn’t reflect reality. Teach your child that many of the photos of models and celebrities are manipulated to portray the “ideal” body type. Tell them there’s no such thing as the perfect body, and that ideas of what is attractive have changed throughout history.
Be Accepting of Various Body Shapes and Sizes
Avoid ridiculing the appearance of others. Celebrate all shapes and sizes. When your child brings their friends in your presence, praise them. There are so many children who are struggling because they don’t have a specific body type. Often, these children develop eating disorders. Thankfully, there are eating disorder treatment facilities that can help those who suffer. However, if you start early with positive affirmations and acceptance of others, your child might feel better about their own shape.
Praise Various Aspects of Your Child
There’s so much more to a person than their appearance. If you overemphasize the way your child looks (even if what you’re saying is positive), they will likely learn to do the same. Focus on all aspects of your child. Teach them that it’s important to treat people with kindness, study hard, and serve others. As your child develops the various parts of their personality and character, be sure to praise them for these qualities.
As you work on helping your child develop a healthy body image, it’s important to be the loudest and most consistent voice in your child’s ear. There will be a lot of influences such as friends, movies, and social media. If you do your part to be the best cheerleader you can be, your child will get the message. Do your best to be a well from which your child can draw when they need encouragement or support. Make sure they know you’re available to talk at any time. When the channels of communication are clear, you’ll be able to create the best environment for your child to develop in a healthy manner.