When we were kids, people found chubby babies and toddlers cute. Those soft cheeks and chubby limbs seemed adorable to everybody. But things have changed now. Everybody is so conscious of body weight that it has begun to affect our children also.
Research from YoungMinds, a children's charity, suggests that children as young as 3 years old are also conscious of their weight and feel anxious about their looks. It has been reported that little children worry about their appearance and express things like "feeling ugly". Even four year old children are aware of strategies to lose weight! What does this say about us? Clearly, we are doing something wrong and it is affecting the next generation.
How Not to Subject Your Child to Negative Self Image
- Do not dwell on looks and appearance of your child. If you are trying to hide imperfections of your child, or if you are complaing of her being too dark or too chubby, you are sending negative body image signals to your child. Even if you are complimenting your child on her looks all the time, you are giving too much importance to her looks and this will affect her in ways you cannot begin to imagine!
- Appreciate your child. All children have many talents and qualities that should be appreciated and nurtured. Look for positives in your child, and never miss an opportunity to appreciate & encourage.
- Try to limit the influence of media on your child. When kids are constantly bombarded with images of actors, models etc, they form their opinions about what is attractive and what isn't. A preschooler certainly shouldn't have to worry about looks.
- Watch your own behaviour in front of your child. If your child notices that you are always on a diet, or that you are always talking about your weight etc, the child will be influenced and forced to think about her own body.
It is our job to ensure that our children have a happy childhood with no worries or tension. If you feel your child is woried about her looks, talk to her and explain that she is beautiful. Tell her that her qualities make her beautiful and show you appreciate her.