If you’re the parent of a young child, you might think you don’t have to worry about body image messages until your child nears their teen years. But experts say even children as young as 3 years old can worry about their size and weight.
So how can you help your child—girl or boy—feel good about their body at any age? Pay close attention to the messages you either intentionally—or unintentionally—share with your child. Check out these examples of do’s and don’ts.
|Talk about nutrition and eating healthy foods.||Talk about dieting.|
|Talk about feeling fit and having fun while being active.||Talk about exercising to lose weight.|
|Take lots of photos of you and your child together.||Avoid being photographed because you dislike how you look.|
|Talk about the qualities of a good person.||Focus on people’s outer appearance.|
|Teach your child to eat slowly and to pause to see if they feel full before eating more.||Tell your child to eat everything on their plate.|
|Teach your child that it’s healthy to eat three nutritious meals a day.||Skip meals.|
|Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains.||Eat mostly diet or fat-free foods.|
|Let your child help select what to buy at the grocery store. Use the opportunity to educate your child on healthy foods.||Make every food decision for your child.|
|See a photo of a role model you admire and say, “I want to be as good of a person as them!”||See a photo of a celebrity and say, “I wish I looked like that!”|
Carson Valley Medical Center offers both outpatient and inpatient nutrition counseling services with a registered dietitian on site providing one-on-one dietary guidance. Group classes and seminars are scheduled throughout the year. Call (775) 782-1667 or visit this link for more information.
Sources: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; American Academy of Family Physicians