Child Development

Fostering Healthy Body Image, Part I

We are all different shapes, sizes, and colors, each of us special in our own way. Blossom and Bud by Frank J. Sileo, PhD was written to help children respect, accept and appreciate how their own and others’ bodies are beautiful and different in their own ways. It was also written to foster discussion in a safe and comfortable environment with the caregivers in their lives.  Understanding individual differences and body diversity may help children build self-esteem, feel kindness toward themselves and others, practice healthy eating, have more realistic expectations of their appearance, and possess a healthy body image.  In his Note to Adult Gardeners in Blossom and Bud, Dr. Sileo provides suggestions about nurturing a positive body image in children. Here’s an excerpt explaining body image and when to seek professional help. We’ll post a second excerpt with tips for fostering a healthy body image. What Is Body Image? Body image is how a person feels about and views their body, which contributes to their own self-image. Children can develop a positive or negative perception of their body.  A child with a positive body image feels comfortable about their body. As a result, they display more confidence, take better care of their body, and have higher self-esteem. They tend to have more energy and engage in physical activities. A child with a negative body image tends to feel less satisfied with their body and may feel more anxious, self-conscious, and isolated from others. They may be more preoccupied with calories, weight, or food intake; unfairly compare themselves with others; have lower self-esteem; and engage in disordered eating. The way children see themselves and others may be based on standards set forth by others in their lives. It is difficult to ignore the images of the “ideal” body conveyed to our children by many forms of media. Peers can also be powerful influences on children’s perceptions of self. Parents and other adults in their lives may also be sending messages directly or indirectly about how children’s bodies should look and how they should feel about their bodies. There is a tendency in our culture to favor bodies that are thin, muscular, or “perfect.” Of course, a “perfect” body does not exist, and focusing on perfection can lead to frustration, disappointment, and other mental health issues. As parents and caregivers, we want to help encourage children to develop healthy mindsets and realistic expectations about their bodies, and to learn how to take care of their bodies through eating healthy and getting regular exercise. When Body Image Becomes a Growing Problem Being concerned about body image and at times being self-conscious about one’s appearance is a typical part of growing up. However, if you should notice your child becoming depressed being bullied struggling with their self-esteem skipping meals engaging in severe dieting withdrawing from others making repeated, negative statements about themselves like “I hate my body,” or “I’m ugly,” or engaging in self-harm behavior it is best to seek consultation with

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Fostering Healthy Body Image, Part I 2021-05-13T15:49:53-04:00

Elephant’s Music: Interview with the Author

We all need to belong, but it can be hard to find a way to fit in. In Elephant’s Music, Edward, the elephant loves music, but has no musical ability at all. This lovely picture book explores how Edward and members of his favorite band find a way for him to be part of the performance. We’ve interviewed author and illustrator, Monika Filipina, about the process of creating Elephant’s Music.  Magination Press: What inspired you to write Elephant’s Music? Monika Filipina: I usually take inspiration from my own experiences and the world around me. For this story the main character is a little bit like myself. I always wanted to have talent for music, but sadly I am terrible at singing or playing any instrument. I tried to play guitar and flute in the past, but it just did not work! I had to accept that I am tone-deaf and that I will not make it as a singer. I tried to find the crowd that likes to listen to the terrible noise, but that did not happen.  MP: Why did you choose animals instead of people as your characters? MF: I love animals. They are fun and very playful to draw, they can have imaginary colors and fantastic shapes. Drawing the animal characters will always be my absolute favorite, and I believe that it shows in the artwork, when the creator had fun making the art. For some reason when I think about a story, the first thing that comes to me is the main character is an animal - the lion, the cat, the owl, the rabbit, the elephant… It works subconsciously, it just happens in my mind. Animals are perfect for exaggerating specific features without offending anyone. This time the main character happened to be an elephant because it all started with a single drawing of an elephant who had no fingers to play violin. The funny thing is that in Poland we have a saying that “an elephant stepped on one’s ear” which is a humorous idiom for someone who sings off-key or is very unmusical, and another one “to move like an elephant in the porcelain warehouse” about someone being very clumsy. So, the elephant seemed to be the perfect character for the story! MP: Why did you choose music instead of sports, art, or some other activity? MF: It is very difficult to explain. This idea of a clumsy elephant trying to play violin came to me. Sometimes it is very hard for me to tell where the idea comes from… It just happens. I walk, or sit, or read a book, or exercise, and suddenly, I have an image in my head and it all begins. I have to stop and write it down so it doesn’t go away.  MP: Edward found a way to participate in the concerts by being the band’s biggest fan. But it wasn’t until the other band members recognized his percussion abilities and the monkeys gave Edward

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Elephant’s Music: Interview with the Author 2021-04-27T11:49:59-04:00

April Is Autism Acceptance Month

April is Autism Acceptance Month. Autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder in the United States. 1 in 54 children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, totaling over 5 million young people and adults.1  Magination Press has a variety of resources for children and teens about Autism and Asperger’s to help them understand and manage their diagnosis. All My Stripes: A Story For Children With Autism by Shaina Rudolph and Danielle Royer "Nobody gets me, Mama!" In the award-winning picture book, Zane the zebra feels different from the rest of his classmates. He worries that all they notice about him is his "autism stripe." With the help of his Mama, Zane comes to appreciate all his stripes — the unique strengths that make him who he is! “Rudolph and Royer shine a light on the autism spectrum, but go a step further and show how endearing, unique and beautiful the children are in this inspiring story about embracing differences.” — Children's Books Heal Asperger's Rules!: How To Make Sense Of School And Friends by Blythe Grossberg A large part of school isn't just taking tests, reading, and writing — it's knowing the rules for behavior in the classroom and learning how to communicate with teachers and classmates. This book makes school easier for kids with Asperger's by explaining the confusing — and often unwritten — rules of the classroom “Grossberg provides an upbeat and supportive guide for readers with Asperger's, covering feelings and emotions, teachers, asking for help, and dealing with bullies…The invaluable advice should help readers navigate new challenges.” — Publishers Weekly Asperger's Teens: Understanding High School For Students On The Autism Spectrum by Blythe Grossberg  For a teen with Asperger's, high school can be a time of great promise and opportunity — to learn more about subjects they're excited about, join clubs and activities that interest them, and make new friends — but it can also be uncomfortable at times. This award-winning book helps them use their strengths and unique personal style to feel more comfortable in high school and to be better able to make friends, understand teachers, and get the grades they are capable of. "High school students who have been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome will find this a welcome tool to add to their support resources. The straightforward tone and achievable tips make this guide approachable for a wide range of readers. Both teachers and counseling staff would be well served to have this title in their collection." — Booklist Autism, The Invisible Cord: A Sibling's Diary by Barbara S. Cain This award-winning book features Jenny, a teen who confides in her diary about what it is like to live with Ezra, her younger brother with autism, and her life with the most "wacky, exasperating, infuriating, amazing younger brother!" “...Cain reminds us that the experience of living with a child with ASD is not limited to parents; siblings are at the forefront of each challenge and every triumph, and they are profoundly affected as

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April Is Autism Acceptance Month 2021-04-12T17:17:17-04:00