Dozens of studies have looked at how children view their bodies and when the best age to intervene would be to promote body satisfaction. It appears this can occur as young as 7-9 years old. My graduate school thesis was on this very topic and was shocked how many children in kindergarten and first grade make comments like:
“I want to be so skinny”
“Ewww that girl is fat!”
“I need to lose weight”
Our children learn these phrases from us, so the first defense against body dissatisfaction is for us to love our bodies and for them to never hear us say negative comments about anyone’s body. If you are going to comment on your body or someone else’s body, first think “what if my son/daughter said this about his/her own body?”
What else can we do?
We can teach our kids how a.m.a.z.i.n.g. their bodies are when they are young so this will carry through when their bodies begin changing. I created a handout that I did with my son’s pre-K class last year. The kids really enjoyed learning about the parts of the body and talking about how awesome their bodies are!
Part One – Taking Care of Your Body
Parts of the body
This part went through the various systems that make up our bodies – skin, bone, muscles, nerves and organs. I went through the basics of what each of these parts did and the kids were great at naming different things within each system.
Food fuels your body
This part talks about the plate method and trying to fill your plate with healthy foods to give your body energy
Play makes you strong
This part goes over fun activities you do to make your body stronger
Part Two – My Amazing Body!
Kids were given crayons and told to draw themselves in the gender-neutral body
Part Three – Why your body is amazing!
For this part, young kids need an adult to help fill in the blanks. Kids tell the adult why they love their body, what their body helps them do and whey they want to take care of their body
Interested in using the handout with your kids? Head over to my google drive!