Teaching about Body Image


Children with a positive body image are comfortable with their physical appearance and are more likely to think about their body in relation to the way it helps them function in a physical sense. Children with positive body image might not be completely satisfied with their appearance, but they concentrate on assets rather than flaws. This way of thinking contributes to a positive sense of self-worth.


Even quite young children can develop unhealthy ideas about body image. Research suggests that concerns about personal appearance seem to emerge around the age of six or seven years old when peer relationships become of greater importance and start to have a strong influence on how children feel about themselves. Ideas about how other children feel about their bodies can inform a child’s own body image.


Alongside this, media images can also play an increasingly important role in influencing young children’s values and ideas.


Schools are in an excellent position to support children in the development of improved body confidence and self-esteem as part of a well-planned programme of PSHE.


Suggested Resources for Teaching about Body Image


  • Teacher Guidance: Key Standards in Teaching about Body Image

This guidance offers teachers advice about the safe and confident teaching of body image as part of the PSHE curriculum. It has been developed by the PSHE Association.


Teacher Guidance - Key Standards in Teaching about Body Image


  • Promoting Positive Body Image in the Primary School - A practical guide to teaching body image lessons sensitively and effectively to 5 to 11-year-olds.

This course will enable you to:

  • Understand the full scale of body image issues currently faced by young children
  • Consider how best to approach the topic with sensitivity and understanding
  • Discuss four body image lessons and associated resources for delivery back at school
  • Learn about the dos and don’ts of teaching body image safely
  • Explore how to embed positive body image as part of the broader curriculum
  • Create an action plan for engaging parents

Promoting Positive Body Image in the Primary School