We have been discussing issues related to body control and image in young children. When a child has difficulty developing positive body control and body image, key areas of his/her life and future are affected.
3 Key areas of child development affected by body image
Difficulty with body image can affect a child’s self-concept. A child who cannot make his body “work” as he wants it to may experience a sense of frustration and inadequacy that can be heightened if he also receives criticism from parents or caregivers or teasing by peers.
Difficulties with fine motor control may influence a child’s adjustment to ECE care or kindergarten, which may affect his ability to build with blocks, draw and print letters and numbers. If the challenge is extreme, it could influence the child’s ability to use a computer or learn and facilitate other important academic skills. Once a child experiences early failures in school, he will likely tend to continue failing. This pattern of failure may potentially lead to chronic school failure or dropping out.
Children rely on their ability for physical play in order to connect with their peers. A child who experiences body control problems may withdraw from playing with peers, particularly on the playground during recess. Conversely, a child who has physical prowess or ability in sports will likely become accepted, even popular, with other children.
Self-esteem, academic achievement and social competence are such key areas to the healthy growth and development of a child in relationship to their caregivers, their peers and themselves. Healthy physical development with appropriate affirmations and caregiving is core to beginning a life of success. It may sound basic, but too often, our children are not in environments that promote healthy development.
Certainly, we should not be setting up our children with life-dominating negative consequences that occur because of less than healthy environments–especially when they are so young. This is why quality childcare is a significant issue for our communities.
We each need to support early childhood education centers that have trained staff who are attuned and aware to issues that affect young children. These caregivers will be important influencers to the health and well-being of thousands of children during some core issues central to their lives.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network