We've launched a guide to body confidence for early years practitioners, after research revealed that children as young as 3 are concerned with their body image.
The research conducted by PACEY last year showed that nearly a quarter of childcare professionals have witnessed anxieties with body image and/or weight in children aged between 3-5 years old, with 37% of practitioners having heard statements such as ‘she/he is fat’ in their setting.
Celebrating me: An Early Years Guide helps early years professionals support children in their care to develop a positive body image and feel confident. The downloadable guide covers everything from expert advice on how to engage in conversations about body image, practical activities and top tips to promote body confidence in settings as well as ideas for linking this into their Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) or Foundation Phase practice.
This guide is supported by the Be Real Campaign, a national movement of individuals, schools, businesses and charities working hard to change attitudes to body image and behaviour.
Denise Hatton, YMCA England Chief Executive and founder of Be Real Campaign comments: “The Be Real Campaign’s mission is to change attitudes to body image and help all of us put health above appearance and be confident in our bodies. We know that in order to tackle body confidence later in life, it is essential that it begins from an early age.
“We are therefore delighted that PACEY, as our early years partner, have developed this excellent guide especially for early years practitioners. It brings together expert advice and practical ideas to support childcare professionals to help children establish the foundations for a healthy body image, high self-esteem and emotional wellbeing throughout their lives.”
Dr Jacqueline Harding, PACEY advisor and child development expert who has contributed to Celebrating me: An Early Years Guide, comments: “Early years practitioners are perfectly placed to promote positive body images as well as healthy lifestyles, and to provide the advice and guidance parents need if they are seeing signs of body anxieties in their children.
“Children look up to us and want to be like us, so we need to take care to talk about our own body in a positive way. We need to build a child’s self-confidence and self-image by focusing on who they are as a person – not what they look like.”
Liz Bayram, PACEY Chief Executive comments: “From our research it is clear that body image issues begin at a very young age. We are delighted to have been able to work with the Be Real Campaign and a wide range of early years experts and practitioners on this guide. We hope it will help early years professionals support children in their care to develop a positive body image – and provide practical tips and ideas to help children feel body confident right from the start.”
 Research carried out by PACEY amongst childcare professionals July to August 2016. Base sample 361.