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Give Your Child the Gift of a Positive Body Image

Curious how to give your child a positive body image? Children pick up what parents say and do—especially when it comes to diet and exercise. Use these tips when talking to them about healthy choices.

Mother and daughter grocery shopping, teach your child about positive body image

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.

Related: Crunching Numbers for Back to School

DO

DON'T

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 person you admire and say, "I want to be good of a role model as he/she is!"

See a photo of a celebrity and say, "I wish I looked like that!"

Related: Parents: Talk to Your College Kids about Drinking

While you’re here, check out our other healthy living articles.

 

SelectHealth may link to other websites for your convenience. SelectHealth does not expressly or implicitly recommend or endorse the views, opinions, specific services, or products referenced at other websites linked to the SelectHealth site, unless explicitly stated.

The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.

Sources: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; American Academy of Family Physicians

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