Fostering a healthy sense of body image is an important way to set up children for success in life. Research shows that positive body image is linked to higher self-esteem and healthy behaviors, while negative body image is associated with behaviors and feelings such as lower self-esteem, depression and disordered eating.
Although peers and the media shape how kids feel about their appearance as they get older, parents also play a major role in the development of their children’s sense of body image, and it starts from a very early age.
“We know that children learn by listening and watching ― think about the times you have seen your children copying something you have said or done! It is no different for messages about bodies,” said Amy Slater, an associate professor and co-director of the Centre for Appearance Research at the University of the West of England, Bristol.