Blame it on retail culture, modern society, movies, peer pressure or anything else, our children have developed a very shallow gauge for social acceptance and self-acceptance, we judge people on the way they look. A slim and slender body, a beautiful face, shiny lustrous hair, have all become the criterion that would make you popular, help them win friends an so on.
For children, this problem avalanches to a much bigger level, because if they are not comfortable with their bodies, they loose confidence in everything they do, be it studies, sports or an interest that they pursue.
Here are a few practical tips for parents, teachers and coaches to help children learn to accept themselves as they are and develop confidence and high self esteem.
- Always remind children that ‘what they do’ is more important than ‘how they look’. Especially for young athletes it is very important to understand that their performance matters way more than their body shape or size.
- For young athletes, it is very important to keep fit and maintain a body weight that complements the type of game they play. But young athletes should be given suitable body-weight target keeping in mind their genetic body type. In many instances, overweight children are also able to perform very well. An athlete needs to be judged on her performance.
- Have active discussions about how good nutrition and adequate hydration can enhance performance and also help the body to be fit.
- Should you feel the child needs to loose weight, ensure you also help the child with healthy diet plan for weight loss. Do not allow the kid to crash diet. Similarly, for kids who need to gain weight, do not suggest or recommend supplements unless you’ve consulted the doctor. Different body types behave differently to certain chemicals. The chance is so not worth taking.
- Help children deal with changes that their bodies are going through. Different bodies will react to the growth hormone differently. Some bodies may show bulk in a certain part and others may be very lean while growing up only to get some bulk once they are past the growth stage. The important thing is that the child needs to be fit and active.
- There is so much of cleverly advertised junk food all around that it gets difficult to control kids. And the worst part being more the control, more its likely to repel back into compulsive eating. You can fix up days when your child is allowed to have food of her choice, no restrictions. But on other days the child must eat wholesome, nutritional food.
- Encourage the child to play outdoors, have some physical activity. Limit the amount of time the child spends in front of the screen. Playing outdoors with other children will ensure the kid gets proper physical, mental and emotional growth.
- Encourage the child to choose a role model who is more naturally developed than the one who has inferred in the course of natural development with surgical, medicinal or food supplements.
Remember that our bodies are like gemstones: natural ones are not perfect but that is what makes them beautiful and so precious.