What is body image?
Body image refers to the thoughts and feelings that a person has towards their body and body parts.
There are a number of things that can influence our body image, including: media, culture, family, and friends.
Why is body image important?
Having a healthy body image can lead to better self-esteem, happiness and confidence among children.
On the other hand, having a poor body-image has been linked with a number of difficulties, including poor self-esteem, withdrawal from physical and social activities, low mood, and disordered eating.
While there has been an emphasis on body image in females, it is important to also be mindful of body image in males
How can parents promote a healthy body image in children?
- Lead by example. Children learn so much by watching others. It is important that children see their parents and carers being kind and accepting of their own body. By accepting of your own body, maintaining a positive attitude, and model healthy eating and exercise, you are modelling a positive body image to your child.
- Focus on what their body can do. Rather than talking about weight and appearance, focus on how our body works and how it changes. Talk about the importance of having a variety of food, in helping us grow and be healthy. Appreciate all the things that our body can do for us.
- Exercise Regularly. Find a sport or physical activity that your child enjoys. Focus on health, social interaction, and fun as the reasons for exercise, not losing weight. Take the time to be active with your child.
- Talk about mental health and communicate. Teach and encourage your children to express their feelings. Let them know that it is okay to show all emotions, such as sadness and anger. Take the time to listen to their concerns about their body image.
If you would like support regarding your child’s or your own body image, please contact us at Hopscotch and Harmony to discuss further with our psychologists and dietitian.
Sarah Gatt is a Hopscotch and Harmony Psychologist passionate about providing early intervention services to young children in order to help aid their development and reach their full potential. She creates a warm and safe therapeutic environment for children, by providing therapy in a creative and individualised manner. Sarah consults from our Werribee practice.