Working Moms

8 year old daughter is tall but overweight

My middle daughter is 4 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 103 pounds.  My husband is very tall and skinny I am average height and overweight, however, growing up I was a normal size most of my weight has been put on over that last 11 years after having three kids and experiencing thyroid issues (just had part of my thyroid removed last month).

Anyway, we eat very healthy.  No fast food, no soda, no sugary snacks (not that we completely outlaw it but we don't buy junk and have it hanging around).  I just had my daughter's thyroid checked which the numbers came back as normal and we have an appointment next month with a dietician at Children's Hospital. We have signed her up for swim team but it only meets once a week.

Here are my thoughts:  We are trying to teach her portion control because we eat pretty healthy and don't eat out a lot, she will still opt for seconds and ask for desert (we have made a family rule of no dessert during the week).  

 She is very low energy although now that the weather is nicer, she will ask to ride her bike up and down the sidewalk.  She goes to a charter montessori school that does not emphasize sports so next year will go to a regular public school that will offer more sports and P.E. time.  

I know we are doing things right but I still worry.  Kids are starting to call her fat in school and she is a very introverted, shy and sensitive child.  I just want to give her the tools to make good food choices, exercise and be healthy all the way around.   

Re: 8 year old daughter is tall but overweight

  • Sounds like you are on track with following up with her doctors.  One thing that may surprise you is how much your child might eat in school.  I work in a primary and middle school, and the snacks that kids bring in, along with the treats that come out for everyone's birthday, celebrating every little holiday (to include 100th day of school, Dr. Seuss's birthday, not just Christmas) and for class celebrations for reaching goals are unreal.  Some teachers bust out candy to reward kids, almost daily.  Is it possible that your child is getting a lot at school?

    In addition to anything your doctor might say, I think it is important to emphasize goals (like running a mile without stopping, or swimming for 20 minutes, or whatever she is into) instead of weight loss.  Since you mentioned that you may need to get in shape as well, maybe the two of you could pick an activity to do together, like training for a 5k.

  • Sounds like your daughter is in need of a friend ... I would sign her up for some activities which she would find interesting and then have the opportunity to meet others with common interesr.

    Is she looking forward to doing the more athletic activities that you are looking to have her participate in? I had a friend who as a child was in dance, gymnastics, swimming, tennis, and so much more yet she didn't enjoy any of it. As an adult though, she has found a love of running. There is more than one way to be active (can be as simple as the family doing more walking ... you mentioned that she likes to ride her bike - she could do that with the family taking evening walks, riding to a park to play for a bit. Walk to the library, or other more local destinations).

    Asking for seconds of veggies or other healthy foods is a good thing in my opinion. If it is something that is highly processed or low in nutrients, then I would encourage her to drink some of her water or eat a piece of fruit first. Asking for dessert is normal for kids; that is what is in need of portion control (for the purpose of good habits in the future rather than out of concern of current weight). Also desert could be sliced fruit or something. A mom I know who studied nutrition in college, allowed her kids to have 3 sweets per day (or maybe per week?) when they were younger. Could include juice, a dessert, etc.

    Regarding the name calling- Have you talked with her teacher? Calling another student fat isn't appropriate at any grade level and it is something the teacher should be aware of. You are planning to switch her to another school but you might want to enroll her in some summer activities that will allow her to meet other students who will be at her new school.

    Edit: like the OPs mention of goals (i.e. take evening walk 5 nights ; did a walk-run with my students for 20mins each day for a month ... saw definite improvement in their stamina and my own waist line)
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  • DochasDochas
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    A dietician is a great place to start.  You might not be eating as healthy as you think you are.  What kind of activities do you do as a family?  Are you out on the weekends riding bikes and going to the park?  Is she getting physical exercise every day?  For me I would feel like modeling portion control would be more important than trying to teach her the concept.  This is a family problem and I don't think she should be made to feel like it's her problem alone and that she is different from everyone else.
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  • I have been concerned with the friend issue.  She seems to have friends (she had a sleep over in February for her birthday and many girls came and had a good time), but I will admit that we have been slow to have her invite friends over.   her older sister is 11 and very social as well as entering that tween phase.  We had our "surprise" baby almost two years ago and having a third baby at 40 has been a challenge, especially since he is the quintessential active boy.  

    Anyway, I am also a teacher and last summer was rough because Mason was so young and still needing two naps a day, we were short on money and the girls did a a alot of hanging out (they had swim lessons and we went to the pool etc.).  This spring I promised the girls they could go to camp three days a week and have signed them up.  They will be in different groups based on age so I am hoping my 8 year old can branch out.  

    We do walk around the pack as a family (more so when there is nice weather) and as a working mom, there are some days it is all I can do to work, get home, make a good dinner, get through homework, baths and then bed.

    We did talk to her teacher about the kid calling her "fat" and the teacher talked to the child  The girls go to a Montessori school that really emphasizes peaceful processes to conflict resolution but as I told my daughter, kids can be mean no matter what school you go to.  She wanted to go to a different school next year because Montessori is not a good fit for her. She likes structure, desks and a traditional setting (she has seem where I teach).  

    I have also tried to talk to her about how sometimes when you think you are hungry, you are really thirsty.  We live in Colorado so we are hyper aware of dehydration.  Basically, she is very resistant to having an open discussion about healthy living habits. It is almost like she feels like we are criticizing her when I make sure I frame it as healthy choices, no emphases on login weight but being healthy etc.  I have also tried to be a role model.  Last summer I took a Jazzercise class and lost 20 pounds.   

  • MKDeeMKDee
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    image akreese02:
    I have been concerned with the friend issue. nbsp;She seems to have friends she had a sleep over in February for her birthday and many girls came and had a good time, but I will admit that we have been slow to have her invite friends over. nbsp; her older sister is 11 and very social as well as entering that tween phase. nbsp;We had our "surprise" baby almost two years ago and having a third baby at 40 has been a challenge, especially since he is the quintessential active boy. nbsp;Anyway, I am also a teacher and last summer was rough because Mason was so young and still needing two naps a day, we were short on money and the girls did a a alot of hanging out they had swim lessons and we went to the pool etc.. nbsp;This spring I promised the girls they could go to camp three days a week and have signed them up. nbsp;They will be in different groups based on age so I am hoping my 8 year old can branch out. nbsp;We do walk around the pack as a family more so when there is nice weather and as a working mom, there are some days it is all I can do to work, get home, make a good dinner, get through homework, baths and then bed.We did talk to her teacher about the kid calling her "fat" and the teacher talked to the child nbsp;The girls go to a Montessori school that really emphasizes peaceful processes to conflict resolution but as I told my daughter, kids can be mean no matter what school you go to. nbsp;She wanted to go to a different school next year because Montessori is not a good fit for her. She likes structure, desks and a traditional setting she has seem where I teach. nbsp;I have also tried to talk to her about how sometimes when you think you are hungry, you are really thirsty. nbsp;We live in Colorado so we are hyper aware of dehydration. nbsp;Basically, she is very resistant to having an open discussion about healthy living habits. It is almost like she feels like we are criticizing her when I make sure I frame it as healthy choices, no emphases on login weight but being healthy etc. nbsp;I have also tried to be a role model. nbsp;Last summer I took a Jazzercise class and lost 20 pounds. nbsp;nbsp;


    How do you talk about your weight and the weight of others in your house? Did you make a big deal about the 20 pounds, or about the fact that you were healthier? I am overweight. I was growing up. My mother is a twig who gets upset if the scale varies by 2 to 3 pounds on any given day. She always told me that she "just wanted me to be healthy," but even as a kid, I heard what she said about her weight, and I heard her make fun of my overweight aunt, and I knew what "be healthy" really meant. I'm not saying you're doing the same thing, but if I were you, I would be hypersensitive to how you talk about weight and health. In my experience, low selfesteem can be a poor motivator for healthy behaviors. Again, I'm not saying that you are doing this, just that you may need to be more careful than you think about how you present the topic. Focus on health and energy for all of you, not weight, dress size or appearance.
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  • aap guidelines:

    look at myplate.  Her plate should b 1/2 plate fruit and veggie, 1.4 carbs and 1/4 meat.  A meat portion is 3-4 oz

    Veggie portion 1 cup, rice 1/2

    Seconds of veggie or fruit only

    limited desserts (try not to have in home)

    1 hour of physical activity daily.

    These are guidelines for healthy kids and for obese children as well.  Your chld is 70-75% tile for height and ?99% tile for weight.  Focus on making small chnages and upping activity.  

    exercise with her, have fun!! 

    My little girl is growing up! (born 12/09) Little brother is here! (born 5/2012) .  Missing our sweet baby lost in December 2013.  Thank you Lord for my precious family!
  • I agree with focusing on health. What about doing a class with both girls? I take dd to our Yoga in the park. I believe it's national ? It's a free yoga class and lots of kids go.
  • image wife07mom09:

    aap guidelines:

    look at myplate.  Her plate should b 1/2 plate fruit and veggie, 1.4 carbs and 1/4 meat.  A meat portion is 3-4 oz

    Veggie portion 1 cup, rice 1/2

    Seconds of veggie or fruit only

    limited desserts (try not to have in home)

    1 hour of physical activity daily.

    These are guidelines for healthy kids and for obese children as well.  Your chld is 70-75% tile for height and ?99% tile for weight.  Focus on making small chnages and upping activity.  

    exercise with her, have fun!! 

    This. She should not get seconds of anything but fruit and veggies and there should be no dessert at home. It should be a once a week thing at most.  And more exercise. How about you and your DD going for long walks (1 hour at least) on weekends and start from there? 

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  • mcbennymcbenny
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    If it were me, I probably wouldn't talk to her about how she eats. I would put her in some activities. Like something at the local Y. My DD plays soccer and basketball. Maybe you can put her in something like that to up her exercise routine without really talking about it.

     


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  • So I guess I am wandering how many of these responses are from working moms (hence why I posted on this board)?  Even as a teacher, I don't usually leave work until 4:00, 4:30 and this is so when I am home, I'm focused on my kids and not writing IEPs or grading papers.  B y the time I pick up my son and two girls, get home to start dinner, finish dinner, give the two year old a bath then make sure the girls are done with their homework it is 7:00, 7:30.  Okay, time for baby to go to bed oops, it's 8:00, time for one of the girls to shower and both are in bed by 8:30.  When are these hour long walks or outside activities suppose to happen?  As I mentioned before, she is on a swim team that meets on Sundays and we do a lot of family activities on the weekends but it doesn't seem to be enough!  This is why I am glad she is going to a school next year the emphasizes more sports and activities.  
  • I think we're all working moms. Being healthy is a priority in our family, so we prioritize. I do freezer cooking once a month. So generally I have very little to do for dinner to get on the table. I take the kids on a walk as soon as we get home. If I have stuff to do for dinner then I have DD run around in the backyard while I'm cooking.
  • To respond to your follow up post about 'when are these long walks or outside activities supposed to happen' I would say that the kids should be active during those before/after dinner hours.  When you are preparing dinner, they're outside kicking a soccer ball or throwing a ball around.  When the 2 year old is getting a bath, they're playing tag or hide 'n seek.  Have them wash the family car once a week, give them some gardening or other lawn chores that will take 60 minutes per week.  You don't need special activities or hours of togetherness in order to get kids more active, they just need opportunity.

    If you need to, make after school a screen-free time.  No tv, computer, ipad, etc.  Kids need free play away from electronics for a myriad of reasons including physical fitness.

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  • Can you tag team with DH? Tonight I got dinner ready while DH took DD for a bike ride?
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  • Yes, we're all working moms here. Physical activity and exercise is a priority in my family. We have 2 1/2-3 hours per night together. DD is only 2, so there is no homework involved, but we spend at least an hour a night playing outside or going for a family walk.
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  • Am a new mom who works myself. I teach middle school. Our guideline is 30 mins of homework per night per subject. This adds up to 3 hours per night. .... what are the kids doing as you are preparing dinner? What is your DH up to?
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  • My husband works an hour away and usually is not home until 6:30, 7:00, or 7:30.  Let me state that in the Spring and Summer, we are very active even during the week but once daylight savings hits and the cold settled in, we do become hermits. 
  • image LittleFish1:
    Am a new mom who works myself. I teach middle school. Our guideline is 30 mins of homework per night per subject. This adds up to 3 hours per night. .... what are the kids doing as you are preparing dinner? What is your DH up to?

    Really?

    I don't remember being that intense with homework even in university.

    And in high school I never had more than 4 subjects per term at a time and that always included some bird course like Phys Ed which generally had no homework at all.

     I cannot image an under 16 year old with 3 hours of homework every night.

    Nope.

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  • image mbenit4:

    If it were me, I probably wouldn't talk to her about how she eats. I would put her in some activities. Like something at the local Y. My DD plays soccer and basketball. Maybe you can put her in something like that to up her exercise routine without really talking about it.

     

    This, having struggled with my weight as a child, I can tell you that she is aware of the situation and pretty much any comment is not going to go over well. Do your best to keep the food in the house really healthy and model good eating and exercise, but most likely when she gets a bit older she will need to make a decision and decide to work harder for herself.

    As to being a working mom, pretty sure most everyone here is, this isn't really something flame worthy drawing others from different boards. Also, as a teacher you get home a lot earlier than many here. I would plan healthy dinners that take no more than 30 min - salads, crockpot, stir fry etc. And your DD is 8, can she not be playing outside while you are cooking? I would probably have her do homework when I was putting the LO down and try and do a family walk either before dinner or after dinner, if you have a SO at home a good time might be after the 2 yo goes to bed. My LOs go to bed at 7, so DH and I could alternate and go on a walk from 7:30 - 8:30.

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  • Just wanted to chime in to say that I too was wondering how we'd fit an hour of physical activity in per day!  Our kids do get ~30 minutes of physical activity at school so that helps.  They also spend about 30 minutes outside running around, but yes, fitting in a one hour bike ride each night would be a squeeze and my DH also gets home around 6:45.  I can see how you alone would 3 kids and getting dinner on the table would be a challenge!
  • OP - can you try doing picnic dinners 1-2 nights aweek? Just do sandwiches or cold checken? You and your kids can walk/bike somewhere local and then have a picnic dinner or even in your own backyard? Whatever you do, it needs to be something you can stick with - you need to set a tone that you want to walk/be outside, etc. and not that you are doing this for your child. Also - that much homework sounds insane . . . is it possible for them to get any of theat done before you pick them up?
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  • mcbennymcbenny
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    image ridesbuttons:

    image LittleFish1:
    Am a new mom who works myself. I teach middle school. Our guideline is 30 mins of homework per night per subject. This adds up to 3 hours per night. .... what are the kids doing as you are preparing dinner? What is your DH up to?

    Really?

    I don't remember being that intense with homework even in university.

    And in high school I never had more than 4 subjects per term at a time and that always included some bird course like Phys Ed which generally had no homework at all.

     I cannot image an under 16 year old with 3 hours of homework every night.

    Nope.

    I think we had 6-7 subjects with one being PE. Wow.


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  • mcbennymcbenny
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    When my DD plays basketball, practice is on Sats and games on Sundays.

    Dance is on Tuesdays.

    When she was playing soccer, practice was on Wed and games on Sats.

    I used to have a crockpot dinner ready at home. I always left work on time on Tues.


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  • It sounds like you're doing a lot of things right, akreese02, and that must be very difficult for you and your daughter.  It's hard to know what to do.  I'm in Colorado, too--hopefully now that it's getting nicer out, it'll be easier to get outside! 

    My problem is the opposite because I've got a high energy 5 year old so I'm trying to burn off his energy, but maybe the result is the same.  When we get home from work/daycare, I make dinner and we eat right away, but then we try to get outside for a while before bed.  Last night, we rode bikes to the park to play for 30 minutes, but most of the time, we just play around outside.  Maybe you could have a family game of kickball or dodgeball?

    Is she interested in any sports?  I would encourage that. 

    What about getting her and you a pedometer and having a contest to see who can get the most steps each day?  Even if you don't want to do it as a competition, just having the actual evidence of how far you're walking each day can be motivating.  I have a fitbit and I absolutely get more activity on days that I use it.

    During the winter, we got a mini trampoline, which is pretty fun for the kids to jump on and kind of wears them out.  I don't know how you feel about video games, but we have a wii and DS plays the wii sports and wii fit games.  The wii fit has some that are awesome for him becuase they literally involve running!

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  • image hoping4sticky:
    image mbenit4:

    If it were me, I probably wouldn't talk to her about how she eats. I would put her in some activities. Like something at the local Y. My DD plays soccer and basketball. Maybe you can put her in something like that to up her exercise routine without really talking about it.

     

    This, having struggled with my weight as a child, I can tell you that she is aware of the situation and pretty much any comment is not going to go over well. Do your best to keep the food in the house really healthy and model good eating and exercise, but most likely when she gets a bit older she will need to make a decision and decide to work harder for herself.

    I agree with this as well.  My sisters were quite thin growing up and still are, whereas I got my mother's genes and she has always struggled with her weight and so have I.  Having people comment on it, even in a trying to be helfpul way, never went over well and if anything made me more apt to want to eat "bad" foods.  If you're modeling good eating habits and making that food available to her then I think that's the way to go.  Sometimes the more you try to help the more you end up hurting.

    As for squeezing in more activity, my kids do have recess and then gym a few times a week so that works out well.  The after school care allows them to run around too and I make sure to tell the directors that they can do homework but then should be doing something more active.  We also have our two oldest enrolled in classes at the Y on Saturdays.

    I know what you mean by activity being easier in the summers.  Winter is hard on us here.

    Kelly, Mom to Christopher Shannon 9.27.06, Catherine Quinn 2.24.09, Trey Barton lost on 12.28.09, Therese Barton lost on 6.10.10, Joseph Sullivan 7.23.11, and our latest, Victoria Maren 11.15.12

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  • LoCarbLoCarb
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    No new advice, as great ideas have been listed above. ***hugs*** I think a lot of parents fear their children will become overweight d it seems to be an American epidemic. I hope she hits a growth spurt soon.
    Mommy of two girls: DD1 4/14/9 DD2 4/15/11
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