Helping your child develop a positive body image
Children are naturally born with a positive body image. They enjoy using their bodies and what they can do. As they grow up they begin to notice how they are seen by others. Setting a good example as a parent or carer can help; for example, praising children for their abilities or actions instead of how they look. People often find themselves complimenting girls on how they look or what they are wearing for example. Parents and carers can also practice being positive about their own and others’ appearance.
There are many books for this age group on noticing and celebrating differences and we’ve selected a few below. Being equipped with a positive self-image can help a child’s overall mental health, and give them confidence as they grow and develop.
- Body image | YoungMinds – what body image is and what influences body image,
- Positive Body Image in the Early Years by Ruth MacConville. Great reviews from parents, teachers and grandparents. One reviewer said, “This is a manageable size but really packs a punch!”
- Mind Over Mirror – Parenting for a healthy body image | Mental Health Foundation
- Developing & Modeling Positive Body Image | National Eating Disorders Association This article looks at how parent and carer attitudes and beliefs can help children shape a positive attitude toward their body
Books for children
- ‘What happened to you?’ by James Catchpole Addressing how a disabled child may feel and want to be spoken to
- What I Like About Me! by Allia Zobel-Nolan Celebrates the beauty of being different
- Perfectly Norman by Tom Percival A great little book celebrating individuality