There is no avoiding the harsh reality that we live in an extremely image-focused society where most of our role models are expected to not only achieve great things, but be the image of perfection to boot. The detrimental effect of this emphasis on body image is widely documented in relation teenagers and adults, but what about young children? Exposure to negative attitudes about body image, whether from the media or within the home can have a serious effect on a child’s attitude towards themselves, so here are a few quick tips to ensure your household promotes a healthy stance on body image.
Firstly always try to be a good role model. Children learn by example and if mummy is complaining about her squidgy bits and getting caught up in fad diets then your child may also find she begins to scrutinise her body in a negative way. Compliments are easy, free and make everybody feel good (including the person dishing them out!) create a compliment culture in your household and regularly praise other members of your family, not only focusing on looks but personality traits and skills. This will soon become second nature and strengthen your relationships as well as boosting your child’s self-esteem.
Look to the media for positive role models with all kids of appearances, praise public figures with for their unique attributes and encourage your child to see the beauty in everyone’s differences. Of course confidence comes from the inside, but if what you’re putting inside you isn’t great, it shows on the outside. Healthy eating and exercise are as important for a happy mind as they are a fit, healthy body so make sure your child is getting enough vitamins and minerals from a varied diet and get those health-boosting endorphins flowing with active pursuits.
For very young children there are plenty of picture books and cartoons available which promote messages of high self esteem and positive body image, try Positive Body Image for Kids: A Strengths-Based Curriculum (for Children Aged 7-11) by Ruth MacConville or Dr Suess’ ode to dreams and determination Oh, The Places You’ll Go.
Don’t forget to visit our Child Modelling hub, filled with informative articles and essential Q&As for all you need to know about the modelling industry, and how it can help with building your child’s confidence and positive body image