How to Talk to Your Child About Weight and Body Image in a Positive Way

As parents, we want to do everything possible to ensure our children grow healthy and happy. However, discussing weight and body image can be difficult and sensitive. Here are some tips on positively talking to your child about weight and body image.

Avoid Negative Language

Using negative language, such as calling someone “fat,” can be harmful to a child’s self-esteem and body image. Instead, focus on positive language emphasizing the importance of healthy habits and overall well-being. For example, “Let’s focus on eating healthy foods and getting enough exercise to keep our bodies strong and healthy.”

Focus on Health, Not Weight

It’s important to shift the focus from weight to health. Encourage healthy habits such as eating nutritious foods, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly. Instead of weight loss, talk about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, such as feeling more energized, sleeping better, and reducing the risk of health problems.

Teach Body Positivity

Body positivity is about loving and accepting your body as it is, regardless of size or shape. Encourage your child to focus on what their body can do rather than how it looks. Help your child understand that everyone’s body is different and that being healthy is more important than fitting into a certain size.

Set a Positive Example

Children learn by example, so modeling positive behaviors and attitudes about weight and body image is important. Avoid negative self-talk and focus on positive self-care habits, such as exercising regularly and eating nutritious foods. Encourage your child to join you in these healthy habits.

Seek Professional Help if Needed

If your child is struggling with their weight or body image, it may be helpful to seek professional help. A registered dietitian or therapist can provide guidance and support to help your child develop a positive body image and healthy habits.

In conclusion, talking to your child about weight and body image can be sensitive. However, by focusing on positive language, health, body positivity, setting a positive example, and seeking professional help if needed, you can help your child develop a healthy relationship with their body. Remember that every child is different, and it’s important to approach this topic with sensitivity and compassion.

This information does not provide medical advice and is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for seeking professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please see full disclaimer.

References:

  1. Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2005). I’m, Like, SO Fat! New York: The Guilford Press.
  2. McLean, S. A., Paxton, S. J., Wertheim, E. H. (2016). Factors associated with body dissatisfaction and disordered eating in women in midlife. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 49(6), 597-600.
  3. Tylka, T. L., Annunziato, R. A., Burgard, D., Daníelsdóttir, S., Shuman, E., Davis, C., Calogero, R. M. (2014). The weight-inclusive versus weight-normative approach to health: evaluating the evidence for prioritizing well-being over weight loss. Journal of Obesity, 2014, 983495.

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