Tag Archive | Parenting Active Kids

Childhood Obesity: A Mom’s Perspective

By Cathy Wilson, PCC, BCC

As a concerned mom, I am very aware of the challenges of childhood obesity with my own kids. I’ve struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember and it wasn’t until my adult life that I’ve been successfully able to keep off 147 pounds. My husband has had the same challenges as well. Studies have shown that kids whose parents are overweight or obese are at much higher risk for becoming obese themselves. A study in the Journal of Pediatrics found five risk factors for childhood obesity. The main risk factor was parental obesity. Thankfully, I read these statistics when my kids were babies. I was aware and determined to do everything I could to make sure to introduce healthy eating and activity into our family.

Many kids today spend hours in front of a screen. Their screen time often includes watching television, playing video games, interacting with social media, and cruising the Internet. During this sedentary time, kids are also seeing unhealthy food and drink advertisements. The combination of the sedentary behavior and the increased likelihood of unhealthy snacking during that time is a very concerning risk factor for obesity.

In a company, leaders are the examples and establish the standards for staff. The same dynamic exists for families. Parents are the role models, the example for their children, and set the standards. As parents, if we eat healthy and incorporate activity into our regular routine, our children see that and it becomes the norm for them too. Our parental influence has a huge impact for behavior and habits in our kids.

Activity with your family is a double bonus for quality family time and building healthy habits that will last your children a lifetime. Here’s a few ways you can do just that: Continue reading

Zamzee, My Family, and Making Exercise Fun

By Virna McKinney

zamzee picture 108

One day last April I walked my son William to his classroom on the second floor of his school. By the time we got to the top of the stairs, we were both out of breath. In that moment I really felt like a failure as a mom. Walking to his classroom on the second floor was a struggle that William had to face five days a week, at least three times a day. I knew I needed to do something to help both of us, and that’s why I started looking for a way to make exercising fun.

I found Zamzee by doing a Google search for a child’s activity monitor. Since I had just joined Weight Watchers a few days before, I decided to get one for myself and both my kids. William was eight and Taylor was five at the time. They were both really excited to get started. When their Zamzees were fully charged, they started doing jumping jacks. My kids and I set challenges and ran in the backyard, or took walks around the block. During the summer break we spent hours in the backyard kicking and chasing the soccer ball. We also bounced on the trampoline, hula hooped, and jumped rope.

Pretty soon, Taylor joined a cheer squad and William joined a basketball team. Because they had their sports practice on two different nights of the week, I decided to take advantage of this time by walking around the track for an hour. But the surprise occurred when each child opted not to watch their sibling practice, but instead walk the track with me. Taylor didn’t actually walk. She ran. FAST. So that made me run too, to keep up with her. On one of our walks I set a challenge for William, without knowing he wasn’t wearing his Zamzee. When we got home I told him to plug it in to see if he had met the challenge. He said, “I forgot to put it on it but that’s ok. It’s not about the points anyway. I needed to walk.” That was a proud mama moment for me.

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How Rewards Made Physical Activity a Habit – Zamzee User Interview

Ilan earned 18,000 Zamz to get a Wii!

Ilan moved enough to earn 18,000 Zamz and get a Wii!

One of the most exciting parts about getting a new Zamzee is the realization that you can earn a free Wii or Xbox by collecting Zamz. Rewards are a crucial part of Zamzee’s game design to get kids moving. This type of extrinsic motivation inspires kids to make a behavior change and kickstarts their physical activity. As they work towards their extrinsic reward (whether it’s a small plush toy or a Wii), Zamzee fosters kids’ intrinsic motivation by making moving fun and social. The end result is kids get in the habit of being physically active. It’s an approach grounded in Deci and Ryan’s theory of behavior change and HopeLab’s research on Zamzee, which is why we know it works.

All that being said, every now and then it’s nice to meet a real user that’s benefited from Zamze. Ilan C., a Zamzee user from Greenfield Hebrew Academy, is the latest Zamzee user to receive a Wii for all his moving. We interviewed Ilan and his parents to find out just how Ilan earned a Wii, and how you can, too!

Zamzee: Hi Ilan! Congratulations on getting a Wii! Tell us, how long were you working towards earning the Wii?

Ilan: I was working toward the Wii for about 6 months.

Zamzee: Wow! That is a really long time and a LOT of moving! How did you stay active to earn enough Zamz?

Ilan: I did baseball, football and I rode my bike, took walks and ran too. My favorite activities are playing outside with my dad and riding my bike.

Zamzee: How does it feel to have earned the Wii after 6 months of moving? Continue reading

Can Adults Use Zamzee?

Jeff and his kids taking a walk last weekend.

Jeff and his kids taking a walk last weekend.

Hi Team Zamzee,

I just wanted to take a moment to tell you how much Zamzee has helped me change my life. A few minutes ago I ordered the Xbox reward after the last few months of busting my butt to earn the Zamz for it. It was a great motivator for me, and Zamzee will continue to be a great source of motivation for me and my family.

As of this morning, I’ve lost 39.8 pounds since getting my meter. I still have a long way to go to be “fit,” but I’m well on my way…and it’s largely thanks to you and that little blue meter. I spend the better part of 2-3 hours per day walking now. Time that I used to spend in front of the TV or computer is now spent doing challenges. I have more energy, my fat clothes don’t fit any more, and my wife is finding me more handsome every day! 🙂 Continue reading

What to do When Your Son Doesn’t Love Baseball

By Andrew Kardon from Mommy’s Busy… Go Ask Daddy

Jason at the bat

I played Little League as a kid until I was almost 13 years old. I was atrocious at first and hated the game. Really, I detested playing. But as I got older, I came to love baseball. Now it’s a lifelong passion.

My oldest son Jason, however, is a bit different. Jason will watch the occasional Yankees game and even enjoys going to the stadium with me. He plays Super Mario Sluggers on the Wii all the time. But actually going outside to play baseball? That’s a whole different story.

I wanted Jason to share my passion for baseball, so we signed him up for T-Ball. When the season started, he really wasn’t very good. He understood the rules. But throwing the ball or swinging the bat just weren’t his strengths.

That first year, I was just a dad cheering him on from the sidelines. It was a tough season. The combination of his lack of skills mixed with the tremendous amount of “sit around and wait” time, just made the whole thing a painful experience for Jason.

At one point he had asked why I wasn’t a coach. So to get him to give baseball another chance, I said I’d be his coach the next year if he played again. He agreed reluctantly and the second year, I signed up to officially be an Assistant Coach. See, I figured, like me, he’d start to love the game once he got older and got a bit better at playing. It probably took me three or four years to really start enjoying the game myself as a kid. I was hoping improvement in Jason’s skills would be all the encouragement he needed to keep at it. Continue reading

10 Lessons on How to Stay Active as a Family

If your New Year’s resolution is to get your family active, take a step back before you attempt to go 100 mph forward and read the 10 most important things we learned in 2012 about moving as a family.

1.  Physical activity is more important than weight loss. Being active improves both your physical and mental health, and how your body feels is more important than how your body looks. Especially when you’re a kid.

2.  Finishing first is not the most important part of running a race. So when your video-game-loving kindergartner wants to run a one-mile race, make sure you believe in him. He’s going to finish.

kids_1_mile_race

3.  Moving doesn’t have to be serious. You can get a healthy dose of exercise while having fun playing games like ant hospital and toilet tag. Yep, those are real games. Seriously. Continue reading

Learning to Exercise for Fun: My Kids Before and After Zamzee

By Ann Greenberg

The Greenberg Girls

The Greenberg Girls

About a year ago I signed my daughters up for a 5k race and found out about a local company called Zamzee. Having spent the better part of the last 12+ years trying to keep my three darling daughters healthy and physically fit, I was intrigued by Zamzee’s claim to engage kids in a more active lifestyle. Days later, we had ourselves 3 shiny, pink meters. Unsure of what to do, I put the girls (then aged 7, 10 and 12) to work exploring the Zamzee.com website and signing up their meters. Almost instantaneously, the way my kids viewed physical activity changed…for the better.

Let me backtrack and age myself a bit first by saying I grew up in the era of riding bikes to school (helmet-free of course), playing at the local park with friends until dusk, swimming in the neighbors pool and heading home, on my own, before the street lamps went on. I didn’t play on 3 different teams year round, I didn’t watch what I ate, and I was a healthy size with little or no effort.

When I started a family of my own, I never expected to struggle to find the time and energy to keep my family healthy, fit and active. Kids today exercise in a structured and organized form. There is no walking to school for my children. Even riding bikes is an effort that usually requires loading 3+ bikes into a too small car and driving someplace remote and safe to do so. In my attempts to keep my kids active, I pull my hair out with complicated daily carpools to and from a half dozen different athletic fields, and I find myself spending hours in my car.

So when these shiny little Zamzee meters entered our world, I had no idea what I was in for.

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Budget-Friendly Ways To Be Active With Kids

By Sarah Kaufman, The Manilla Blog

We all want active and healthy kids, but exercise can be expensive. Sports teams cost money, plus after-school carpool schedules sure don’t fit the schedule of working parents. It’s important for kids to stay active and learn the value of exercise — but what if you don’t have that kind of time or money?

I’m here to offer five simple ways that you can get your kids engaged in physical activity for free (or nearly free).

1. Make moving part of your routine.

52: Joe Bike for the Wee Folk

This would be a pretty epic shopping trip! (from grrsh on Flickr)

If you live in a neighborhood that has sidewalks and safe streets, walk or cycle to your neighborhood playdates instead of taking the car. You’ll have to practice what you preach, so why not invite the kids along the next time you walk the dog? It’s good exercise and good bonding time. Make small decisions to be active – like not stressing about that parking spot that’s a little farther away. Your entire family will feel good in the short-term, plus you’ll be role modeling good exercise habits and teaching your kids important habits for long-term health.

2. Make exercise your bonding time.

Sometimes we don’t have time to exercise because we’re too busy taking care of the kids. So just take the kids with you the next time you workout. For example, not long ago, a friend of mine took up jujutsu, a Japanese martial art. He joined a jujutsu gym and started taking his 3-year-old son to class every Saturday. It’s now been their Saturday tradition for more than a year — it’s great exercise and it’s a wonderful way to spend the morning together.

If you’re not the jujutsu type (let’s face it: I’m not!) you can also bond with your kids by taking them on your morning run, playing sports as a family or going for a few rounds of miniature golf instead of the movies as a treat. Continue reading

Exercising to be a Role Model

By Whitney from Rookie Moms

I’m a 39-year old mother of two and I fit into my clothes just fine. True, I don’t look like Gwyneth Paltrow– who sports those same credentials — in my bathing suit, but my weight is healthy and my energy level is decent, I think. Still, I know that exercising is an important habit to embrace, and not only that, it’s my responsibility to model good behavior for my children.

How I envy my husband who took up running two years ago with dedication. He’s made it a ritual and leaves his workout clothes just outside of our bedroom door before he goes to sleep so that he can sneak out in the morning without waking me. Mostly I have slept through this routine he’s developed. Or I stir to the sound of his leaving just enough to slip feelings of guilt into my brain as I enjoy my last thirty minutes of “sleep.” What I’m actually doing is keeping my eyes closed and thinking about how I should squeeze into my sports bra and fire up my Jillian Michaels DVD.

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How Adyson Became My Exercise Buddy

Rebecca, Abigail and Adyson with their Zamzees

Dear Zed and Team,

America’s obesity crisis is a problem that’s very personal for my family and me.

Our oldest daughter is overweight for her age. Our middle child, Adyson, is overweight as well. Adyson is 9 years old and weighs 102 pounds now, but she was 106. Our youngest daughter, who is 8, is on the opposite side of this. She can’t gain weight. As for us, I am considered to be obese. But my husband is an Army Ranger, so he stays overly active.

Last spring our pediatrician suggested that my oldest daughter attend Camp Strong4Life. At Strong4Life, kids learn about exercise, proper meal portions, and how to have fun while being active. Before the kids go, the families attend a weekend retreat to learn how they can positively support their children’s health. On the last night of the retreat, the camp director asked Adyson if she also wanted to join the summer camp. So the following Monday we were off to see our doctor, to get a physical and make sure Adyson qualified (you need a BMI of a certain level to attend). Of course, we qualified.

When the two older girls came back from camp, I was ready for us all to start a new healthy lifestyle. I had noticed that over 85-90% of the camp parents were overweight! I was so ashamed of myself. How could I be a positive role model for my girls and ask them to eat healthier and get moving if I wasn’t myself? So I made that change with them. We cleaned out the cupboards, limited what sweet treats were in the house, and replaced junk food with healthier snacks. We stayed active all summer, swimming, geocaching, and walking the Georgia trails. The girls weren’t too happy about it, but they went along with us. We didn’t give them much choice! Continue reading