Habitot Children's Museum

FALL-WINTER HOURS
October 1- March 31
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
Sun
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 4:30
9:30 - 4:30
9:30 - 4:30

SPRING-SUMMER HOURS
April 1 - September 30
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
Sun

9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 4:30
9:30 - 4:30
Private Rentals Only

THIS MONTH'S SPONSOR
State Farm Insurance
Berkeley Agent, Gary Eason
http://garyeason.net/



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Habitot Children's Museum
2065 Kittredge Street
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 647-1111
www.habitot.org


Q. How to help your child develop a positive body self-image?
Recent research seems to indicate that American children’s ideas about body image, body ideals and body dissatisfaction develop much earlier than was once thought. Children’s image of their own bodies can begin as early as age 3, and by age 4, many children believe that those with thinner body sizes are better. Dishearteningly, by age 5, far too many children express a desire for a different body their own and begin to show early symptoms of eating disturbance. This is sad news for parents who love their children just as they are and want more than anything to raise their children to be happy, healthy and self-confident in their own skins.

Obviously, helping children maintain healthy body weight by providing nutritious food and opportunities for daily exercise is fundamental, but introducing the concept of “dieting,” or constantly making comparisons to other peoples’ bodies or your own can result in destructive self-notions of body image in young children. The most important indication of how children develop a positive self-image comes from what they hear at home.

It is also part of a parent’s role to mitigate for young children the pervasive social and media influences that imply that our bodies are not thin enough, pretty enough, tall enough, or strong enough, etc. Remember that when children feel good about themselves, not only are they happier in general, they are also better equipped to resist all types of negative pressures and they have an easier time handling conflict throughout their lives.

Here are some tips on helping your child develop a positive self-image:


  • At all ages, make sure your kids appreciate that people come in all shapes and sizes, and that our good health is the ultimate goal. This can be especially important if your child’s shape is different from that of others in the family - for example, if she has a stocky build, but her mom, dad, or siblings tend to be tall and lean.

  • Place less emphasis on how your child looks and more importance on all of her abilities, skills and talents. Remind him of all the great things he is ‘inside’ such as thoughtful, kind, determined and patient. Remember that even positive remarks – ‘you’re so pretty’, ‘you’re so strong’ – can backfire.

  • Children learn best by example, and when parents have a negative body image themselves, or are constantly talking about dieting, or how they look with a negative spin on it, kids pick up on that and may start to doubt their worthiness. Be careful how you talk about yourself and your body around your child. Instead of critiquing yourself and your own body, talk about all the amazing things our bodies can do.

  • Challenge media images. Media images and messages can be the springboard for discussing healthy body images in children. Parents can discuss media messages that are inaccurate and unhealthy as well as highlight positive media images for their children.
 
Resources:

Fat Talking Tots: Body Image & Fat Hatred in Preschoolers & Young Children..
Dr. Robyn Silverman. 2011.
www.drrobynsilverman.com/body-image/fear-of-fat-in-tots-body-image-fat-hatred-in-preschoolers-young-children/

Mom, Dad, Do I Look Fat?. Wendy C. Fries. 2010.
www.webmd.com/parenting/raising-fit-kids/mood/weight-self-esteem?page=2

Young girls and body image.. 2013. Body Image Movement Web Site.
www.bodyimagemovement.com.au/young-girls-and-body-image-2/

 
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