Improving Your Child's Body Image
Just sit and watch the television for a little while and it would appear that everyone has a flawless complexion and a perfect body. Our children are seeing images of men and women that spend countless hours working out and spend who knows how much on plastic surgery to look as good as they do. Not to mention how many of them have very unhealthy habits to stay in the condition they appear to be in. It is probably unrealistic for our children to have the physique that their role models do.
You can help your child to have healthy habits that will not only make their bodies healthier but it will also improve their body image. Encourage your children to eat healthy snacks and meals by limiting the amount of fast food they eat. Prepare meals at home according to the food pyramid. Keep junk food to a minimum. The best way to do this is to not buy it. If children only have healthy options available this is what they will eat.
Get physical with your kids. Physically active children are less likely to have weight problems. When they are younger just play with them, games like tag, or soccer or just racing them. Anything that gets their heart rate up is good. Make it a family priority to get regular exercise. You can do this just by doing things like taking a hike on the weekend or going to the lake for a swim. As they get older, you can see if they are interested in team sports, dance, weight training or whatever they might be interested in.
If your child does have a weight problem you don't want to make them feel bad about it. Nagging or "trying to motivate" them may contribute to their body image problems. What you can do is talk to them about why they are eating. Are they eating cause they are hungry or is it out of boredom or depression? Help your child sort this out and come up with a plan to deal with it. Try to let them come up with the plan. Talk to your child about how she is feeling about her body. Help her to find things she likes about herself and to be realistic in her expectations. If she wants to make changes in her body be supportive of her feelings and help her set realistic goals.
Lastly, help your child find something that she can take pride in. Encourage her to find something challenging that she can do well at. Having a sense of accomplishment improves self-esteem and in turn can improve body image.