Teaching your children to take care and love their reflection in the mirror will help them develop a positive body image.
The image of the perfect body children see every day on social networks and in the media affects how they perceive themselves and can sometimes lead to insecurities that lower their self-esteem. Contrary to what we think, children form opinions about their bodies at a very early age. Research even shows that children as young as three years old experience body image problems and worry about being seen as “fat.”
This is why, conversations between parents and children are important as they serve as a secure place to foster opinions in them about what is healthy when it comes to exercise, appearance and food. The webpage familydoctor.org offers some recommendations to help young children break down stereotypes:
- Avoid talking about having strict diets. It is better to include what it means to eat healthy in your conversations.
- Encourage your child to do exercise in order to be stronger, not to lose weight.
- Smile when your child looks at him or herself in the mirror. Making negative faces and comments affects their self-esteem.
- Eat three healthy meals together a day as a family; this will strengthen their healthy habits.
- Do not eat dietary products or fat-free foods. Instead, include a variety of fruits, vegetables and lean meats in the family diet.
- Talk about what it means to be a good person. Praise your child for their internal qualities.