Let's Talk About Children in Bigger Bodies

Let's Talk About Children in Bigger Bodies

“I am worried about my child’s weight gain? I do not want them teased or to miss out because they have a bigger body” Parent

This is a common concern and often a reason for parents to seek out help for their child and their weight. It can become a tricky path to take.

Treat all bodies equally and with respect

We all deserve to be respected no matter what we look like – including our size or shape.  It is important that children hear this message at home – ideally early and often. Often fear about size and shape is coming from cultural expectations of an ideal body shape or concern about health. Healthy bodies can come in all shapes and sizes. Read more about body positive parenting and body image

Like adults, all children are different shapes and sizes. All children develop and grow differently. The biggest influence on your child’s body shape and size is their genes. We cannot change genes. It’s normal for a child’s body to change in shape and size as they grow. Also, height and weight don’t always increase at the same time. What this can mean, is sometimes they grow out before they grow up. It is very normal to find within a group of children the same age a large variation in size and shape.

Restricting food does not help

One of the things that can increase weight (more than what is genetically expected) in the long term is dieting. This includes restricting food intake or removing certain foods in a bid to change body shape or weight. Children soon pick up that they are being treated differently because of their size. Restricting foods can make children worry that they won’t get enough to eat.  It can make them more fixated on food. It can also have the opposite effect where they can actually eat more or seek out ways to find the restricted foods.

Feed your child with trust

“I worry when my child eats too much” Parent

Approach parenting and feeding your child with a foundation of trust. Trust that children are born with the ability to listen to their appetite. What they eat will vary from day to day. Your role as a parent is to protect this. Trying to control how much they eat can be unhelpful. Focus on your role which is to:

  • provide a variety and enough food that helps your child grow
  • provide regular meals and snacks
  • have fun and relaxed family food experiences so they can eat with you and  enjoy what they eat in an unrestricted way

Help your child enjoy movement

Help your child feel safe

  • do not treat or feed a child differently based on their weight or shape.
  • help your child feel loved and respected in their body.

Seek the help you need

“I was teased growing up because of my body and I don’t want that for my child” Parent

Our culture doesn’t make it easy for people who are in larger bodies. Having children can be a chance for you to think about your own body image and ways to improve it moving forward. You can shift your body image without changing what your body looks like. It can also be a good chance to look at how and what you eat and be a  positive role model around food and eating. Eating well means eating foods that nourish our bodies but also without fear and restriction. If you need some help to do this seek out the help you need.

To find out more about tips about healthy eating for families