A healthy body image can help a child grow into a healthy, confident adult. And parents play a big role in fostering their child's self-esteem.
The womenshealth.gov website offers these suggestions for boosting your child's self-image:
- Discuss with your child the fact that weight gain, especially during puberty, can be a normal and healthy part of development.
- Don't speak negatively about weight, food, body shape and size.
- Encourage your child to make personal decisions about food, but offer a variety of healthy options.
- Praise and compliment your child for things he or she has accomplished.
- Limit your child's television time, and when it is on, watch together to encourage discussion about images in the media.
- Be active in your child's school, promoting policies that protect against discrimination, bullying and a healthy approach toward weight.
- Communicate openly with your child.
Health Tip: Dealing With a Picky Eater
It may be difficult to ensure that a finicky toddler is getting all necessary nutrients. Experts say parents should be persistent in offering a variety of healthy foods.
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers these suggestions for parents of picky eaters:
- Add nonfat dry milk to soup, or sneak grated veggies into homemade muffins, breads or lasagna.
- Serve your child's favorite foods along with things that have been refused before.
- Let your child help prepare meals.
- Make sure food is visually appealing with unique shapes.
- Eat a variety of healthy foods yourself to set a good example for your child.
- Schedule regular family meals together.