We all have at least one or a handful of fixes we would like to make to our appearance. So, when your ten-year-old teen tells you that they feel fat or ugly, you would naturally understand where they are coming from. The same words coming from a preschooler would be disturbing. Either way, you ought to find ways of approaching body image-related concerns.
Recent Study Surrounding Body Image in Children
Reviews by the Professional Association for Childcare and Early years released the following statistics:
Phrases like “He is fat” or “She is fat” are common among kids. 24% of childcare professionals report seeing kids between ages three and five express unhappiness about their appearances. 47% of childcare workers have experienced anxiety about children ages six to ten. 19% of childcare experts say they have seen children refuse to eat because they don’t want to get fat.
Role of Parents in Preventing Body Image Issues
Children learn about body image from the media, friends, peers and even their parents. Luckily, parents can influence significantly how their children view their looks.
Here are some essential tips to remember:
Watch Your Words
Avoid saying things like, “I look fat today” or “I won’t eat this food because it will make me fat.” Remember that your children are looking up to you, and your words will not go unheard. If your little one figures out that you are unhappy with how you look, they will imagine that they aren’t beautiful too.
Don’t Focus Too Much on Appearance
Avoid talking about people’s appearance, especially in your kids’ presence. Focus on other attributes such as kindness, politeness, and how charitable they are. Tell your children that proper manners and hard work are more valuable than outward appearance.
Emphasize the Importance of Healthy Eating and Exercising
Make healthy food preparation and workouts in family activities. When going for grocery shopping, allow your kids to choose vegetables and fruits. You can read the nutrition labels together to train them on healthy eating habits.
Discuss Gender and Body Stereotypes on the Media
Take the time to watch TV with your kids. Whenever a commercial or movie that features people in skimpy clothing comes up, talk about it. Even when they show unhealthy foods that look tempting, make it known that this isn’t right.
Limit Screen Time
Studies have proven that reducing screen time helps in improving kids’ grades and reduces their risk of obesity. Cut down their internet use. Also, make sure that they are watching the right shows.