How Do Children Develop Body Image?
The perception of self is one of the most important aspects of healthy child development. A healthy body image is one that allows children to have confidence and, as a result, achieve positive interactions with others.
After this, children learn the parts of their body (nose, mouth, eyes, hands, etc.). This allows them to identify their own body parts as well as recognize them on others.
Knowledge of body parts also gives children the ability to distinguish between human beings and non-humans. For example, plants, animals, and objects.
Later on, when children begin their elementary education, they begin to develop the concept of body image even further. How? Through the contrast of opinions in regards to what is pleasing to the eye or not, what is most common, etc.
Body image in the classroom
In the classroom, your children will deepen the knowledge learned at home regarding the human body. Through the use of different teaching techniques, educators will orient children towards the following objectives:
- Knowing the parts of the body and shapes.
- Correctly naming each part.
- Differentiating the characteristics of their body parts.
- Locating each body part.
- Recognizing the most visible and functional body parts.
A possible order in which children may learn to identify their most visible body parts is the following:
- Head, face, arms legs, feet, genitals, fingers, nose, mouth, ears, eyes, teeth, cheeks, lips, chin, elbow.
Children between the ages of 5 and 6 should be able to recognize about 30 body parts.
Learning to distinguish and identify the parts of the body
Another aspect that children should learn has to do with height, thickness and color. At the same time, they’ll learn to identify the characteristics that their body parts possess: Soft, hard, pointy, rounded, etc.
They’ll also learn which body parts come in pairs and which are unique, as well as which parts are flexible and which are not.
Teachers will plan fun games that are related to how children create their body image. These games will vary depending on age and grade.
In general, these games consist of naming, touching and identifying different body parts in a fun and dynamic way. Some of these activities may include creating drawings of their own bodies. This type of activity is perfect for children ages 5 or 6.
Body image with a realistic perspective
The culture that children grow up in has a big influence on their body image. Family values and personal experiences are also significant factors. All of these situations have a major impact on a child’s relationship with his or herself
Helping children form a realistic self-image and accept their characteristics and traits is vital. We must also help children be willing to make certain changes for the benefit of their bodies when it comes to caring for and improving their health.
With the passing of time, a child’s appearance may change due to changes in his or her circumstances. However, these changes shouldn’t affect the concept that the child has formed in regards to his or her image.
When children reach the pre-adolescence stage, they begin to experience alterations in their bodies. These are normal changes related to development.
However, they may still feel rejection towards themselves because of how they see their bodies.
If an obsession regarding very strict or specific body aesthetics exists within a family, this can negatively affect children.
The creation of a positive body image
We should teach children to appreciate the different functions and benefits that their body offers. We must also strengthen their self-esteem in regards to their different abilities and capacities. It’s important that children learn to value themselves for who they are.
Talk to your children about how they feel about their body image when they’re with others. Do they feel rejection towards the way they look? Let your children know that the stereotypes about beauty that they see in the media aren’t realistic. Always encourage self-acceptance.
Don’t give too much importance to physical aspects. At the same time, never criticize your child for being overweight or underweight – especially in front of others. You should never point out negative aspects of your child’s body.
In conclusion, how do children form their body image? It will depend greatly on what you teach them from early childhood. The best way to help children feel comfortable with themselves is by pointing out positive aspects and offering praise.