Child Nutrition · Topic of the Week

Topic of the Week: Preschoolers and Body Image

I meant to do this post yesterday but I have honestly been struggling all week about what to write about. The last two weeks were easy; there were really defined things that I experienced that I could write about. That’s not to say that I haven’t done much this week, in fact, I have gotten more done this week than the last two weeks combined. I guess in a way I’ve just been in project mode and haven’t really had the chance to experience anything that made me say “I should write a blog post about this!”

I’ll get to the details of my week tomorrow though, or possibly Saturday, depending. I’m working this weekend and staying with Meghan. I’m so excited to see her! It’s been over a month and while that unfortunately has become normal now (screw adult life) it still seems like a long time.

Today was an independent work day for me at the preschool, aka my preceptor wasn’t there. I started out the morning with a bang and pumped out another project summary, edited my picky eating handout one final time, and then attempted to start a new project. I immediately hit a wall. I think, actually I know, I’m making things too hard on myself and that’s why I can’t come up with something. So I moved on to something else and the BAM another wall on that project.

It would have been really nice to have my preceptor there to bounce ideas off of…and she’s gone tomorrow too…

So, since my productivity seemed to stop right before lunch, I spent the afternoon literally just browsing websites and resources trying to get some ideas flowing for these two projects. It felt like a waste of time but I know I’ll go into tomorrow with at least some brain storms to start from.

I’m also not really enjoying this small office thing.

Back to the topic of the week…I came across this while I was browsing and thought it was an important:

Preschoolers and Body Image

I know it seems silly to think a preschooler could possibly have body image issues, they are such care free individuals who seem to have such a strong sense of self.

When was the last time you saw an adult run around and let every thought that came to mind spew out of their mouth?

Okay, so maybe you have seen that, but it’s not common. Basically, preschoolers don’t care what other people think.

Unfortunately, preschool is the age that some children can start to develop body image issues and in those early, impressionable years, body image issues can stick for life.

Children that develop negative body image issues are more self-conscious, have anxiety problems, and are more likely to isolate themselves from their peers. They are also more likely to have more weight and eating disorder problems later in life. On the other hand, those with positive body image are more comfortable and confident in their ability to succeed.

A child doesn’t have to be over or under weight to develop body image issues either. People of all shapes and sizes have an unhealthy fixation on their body and what it looks like.

What can be done to help children develop a positive body image instead of a negative one?

Parents are a key component to this. Kids always want to do what their parents do and a lot of the things they learn from them stick for life. For this reason, it’s important for parents to keep their own body image issues to themselves. If a child constantly hears their mother complain about a part of her body, like her “muffin top” or how she’s not “allowed” to eat certain “bad” foods because they don’t go along with her diet, the child will absorb those negative comments and believe that they should also have similar concerns about their own bodies or eating patterns.

This is not good!

For children (and everyone, for that matter), the focus should be on health instead of weight. Children should be learning the importance of balanced meals, healthy snacks, and delicious nutrition, not numbers on a scale or calorie counts. They should learn that staying physically active is fun by finding the kind of physical activity that they like to do. It doesn’t matter what they’re doing as long as their active!

Being healthy and active is important, that is the message that should be conveyed to preschooler.



2 thoughts on “Topic of the Week: Preschoolers and Body Image

  1. It’s weird to think about kids that young having body image problems but it does make sense! It’s true that kids that age are so impressionable. And I’m exited to see you soon!!!

    1. I know! I had never thought about it until I came across it on the Kids Eat Right website but it makes total sense. I’m excited to see you too! This day just needs to go faster.

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