Building self‐esteem and positive body image are vital for children to grow into happy and well‐adjusted adults and
parents can have a very positive impact in these areas of their child’s life.
Here are some great tips to help you build your child’s self esteem and body image.
Understand your own body image blueprint – be aware of where your body image attitude comes from so that you can make conscious decisions about the messages you send to your children.
Avoid looking in the mirror and thinking or saying negative things about your appearance
Avoid talking about diets, weights or clothes sizes, as well as discussing other people’s weight, shape or size, giving the impression that these things are highly valued by you.
Celebrate body diversity and be sure your children know you believe everyone is beautiful and acceptable, regardless of their shape, weight or size
Talk about positive feelings in relation to your body and your child’s
Encourage your child to talk with you about their feelings, emotions, daily activities and friends
Find ways to praise and encourage your child and demonstrate to them how proud you are and how much you love them
Spend time with your child doing things they enjoy and find ways to get them involved with appropriate things you love to do.
Help your child to identify the things they enjoy doing and the activities and hobbies that make THEM happy. Highlight to them that they are doing different things that have the power to make them feel good.
Encourage your child to step outside of their comfort zone by trying new and different activities. This can help your child to understand their potential and helps them to identify the things that they enjoy or don’t enjoy doing.
Sometimes, despite a parent’s best effort to raise a happy and healthy child, things do not always go to plan. It is
important to know the early warning signs of when your child may be experiencing issues with their self esteem and
body image. Picking up on these cues can help your child prevent developing a serious illness such as depression,
anxiety or an eating disorder.
Here are some key signs to be aware of in your child:
Noticing changes in behaviour and mood, withdrawal from friends, families and activities that they may have previously enjoyed
Looking and feeling sad or down
Increased preoccupation with food, diets, calories, health and recipes
Increased anxiety, moodiness or irritability around meal times (before and after)
Avoidance or excuses around meal times or refusal to eat certain foods
Putting themselves down or making negative comments about themselves such as “I’m fat”, “I’m ugly” or “I’m hopeless”
Sudden or rapid weight loss or frequent weight changes
Change in clothing style – such as wearing baggy or oversized clothing
Excessive, compulsive or rigid exercise regimes
If you notice any of these signs seeking support and information for your child if they are experiencing difficulties and
intervening as early as possible is important.