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JACOBSBELOVED SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (7,394)
Posts: 129
9/2/12 3:51 P

Like most children, it sounds like your son wants to do this because you're doing it. I personally don't think a 9 year old is ready to join SP. Like several other Sparklers are saying, even the Teen Sparklers have to be at least 13 years of age. Does he know what you do on SP? Does he just want a profile so he can track his calories and exercise? When I was 9, I had no idea what calories were. I just knew the good and the bad food.

Instead of making him a SP profile, why not get him more involved at home with making better food choices? Have him help you make a meal where he can choose healthy side dishes and see what a healthy portion really looks like. Maybe if he's involved with something that will make him healthy, then he will not want to join SP. You can also play and exercise with him and you can both take note on how much you both exercised.

I think it's great that you want to give your little guy what you didn't have: a healthy lifestyle at a young age.

JADOMB SparkPoints: (134,622)
Fitness Minutes: (68,349)
Posts: 1,708
8/31/12 6:15 P

A parent knows their child better than anyone else. The reason there is an age limit is that on the average, any child under 13 is usually not ready for this kind of stuff and may just end up messing around or even hurting themselves by thinking they understand something they really don't.

So like any computer work that a parent allows their child to work with, the parent needs to be right there to help them along and to understand things. So a 9 year old can actually learn much from this site but only with adult supervision. So stay with him and try to find where he understands things and can actually work this site to educate himself. Ask him lots of questions and get him to ask them of you. That's the only way I would allow any of my children onto a computer site when they were young.

LDAVIS648 Posts: 353
8/31/12 12:59 P

yes let him take control of his health now. spark is a healthy alternative to him trying to do it by himself. he will get healthy suggestions and chioces and he wont go on a diet thAT IS UNHEALTHY. AS HE GROWS UP HE WILL HAVE C CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT IS HEALTHY AND WHAT IS NOT. WHICH IS A HUGE STEP TO GET DONE BEFORE TEEAGE HITS. BUT ALWAYS SUPERVISE HIS PROGRESS AND CHOICES

JENNIEQKA SparkPoints: (34,772)
Fitness Minutes: (19,560)
Posts: 128
8/30/12 4:33 P

I have to admit I did let them - both make a teen sp account although the age limit is 13... they don't 'overspark' but it's interesting how this thing made them accountable for what they eat and what they want to eat.
They have never really taken care of their snacks before, they would go for chocolate or cakes or calorie loaded sticks... and 'tracking' made them aware how unhealty these foods can be. Now they ask for carrots, melon, cucumbers, rice cakes, a biscuit now and then...
They also pay more attention to their physical activity, until some days ago the most important thing was to get more time for computer games, now it is careful planning of daily exercises like soccer, cycling, basketball or table tennis.
I don't regret allowing them to join in.
They have the chance to never 'turn into' what I did with careless eating.

Edited by: JENNIEQKA at: 8/30/2012 (16:35)
8/30/12 1:47 P

I don't think that it would be wise to put him on spark, but to help him manage his eating at home. Teach him proper portion sizes. Limit treats/junk food to once in a while. Don't keep anything in the house that he can't have. Make sure each of his meals are healthy and well rounded.

I think that THE most important aspect is to teach proper portion sizes

I nannied for a 9 year old girl who was overweight, and her diet was not that great. So we instituted the rule that she could pick ONE snack (granola bar, string cheese, a few tortilla chips with beans (her favorite)) and then the rest of the snacks had to be fresh fruits or fresh veggies. She also had to make sure she got 5 servings of veggies a day. But she could eat an unlimited amount of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Maybe do something like that with your son.

JENMC14 Posts: 2,786
8/27/12 11:18 A

I honestly don't think it's a great idea. I think it will too easily lead to an unhealthy focus on weight and restriction at a young age. Help him make healthy choices, get him moving. Teach him, but I also don't kow what would even be a healthy calorie intake for a child that young. You can't make him an account as if he's an adult. I think even the teen spark site recommends that you actually be 13. Talk to his doctor. Talk to a pediatric nutritionist, and maybe even a counsellor who specializes in overweight kids and/or body image issues. I have major issues once I hit my teens (and I was that super skinny stick kid), and I am trying desperately to avoid that in my own daughter. I know boys are different, somewhat, than girls and society pressures, but I just worry about focusing on numbers and hitting this and that at such a young age. The focus should be more on being healthy and active, imho, and less on specifics. You can sort of control it for him in what you let him eat and when, but I personally am not sure I like the idea of having him track unless a nutritionist says it's a good idea.

Edited by: JENMC14 at: 8/27/2012 (11:19)
8/27/12 8:26 A

thats awesome. check out spark families and use it as a bonding experience too!!

BHARRIS227 SparkPoints: (1,487)
Fitness Minutes: (1,581)
Posts: 25
8/26/12 11:52 A

I grew up as a bigger kid too, and I would have loved to have something like this at 9, my parents didn't offer the best food choices for us. I didn't notice an age restriction when I signed up for it, and as long as he has your permission it should be fine in that respect. I don't think it's a bad idea, if he wants to do it. This site doesn't promote unhealthy weight loss, so allowing him to track what he's eating/activity he's doing may help him get his weight under control. When I was 12 my mom hid the scale so I couldn't weight myself because she was afraid I would have an eating disorder or something, she sure wasn't doing me any favours, I think it's good for kids to learn to eat/live a healthy lifestyle, since the habits they create will follow them into adulthood.

JENNIEQKA SparkPoints: (34,772)
Fitness Minutes: (19,560)
Posts: 128
8/26/12 8:54 A

My younger 9-year-old son is pretty much after me, so he shows signs of obesity at early age. His BMI is 29 which is surely not very healthy for a boy that age.
Now, I am quite aware that it's not only the genes, but our eating habits have a lot to do with his weight. He is 4 ft 11 in tall and weighs 141 lbs.
Before I started sparking in June, for several months I had been introducing small changes into the household. We were eating tons of white bread, sometimes 4 loaves a day wouldn't be enough. Then, we changed to wholemeal, seeds and other healthy variations and now we barely have a loaf every other day. I introduced soy products, more salads, fruits and veggies instead of deep fried food, sandwiches, cheeseburgers and cookies. My little one got very interested although he was a fast food addict.
He's aware of his overweight problem and wants to spark, yes, he insists I open an account for him where he could record his calorie intake. He is very persistent and motivated, yet I wonder if it is a good idea to do for such a young child.
I want to help him because I grew up as the 'fat one' in the neighborhood and it made me miserable for years. I wish someone had told me what to do then or made me aware of healthier choices.
Otherwise he's a very playful and active child, is able to cycle 3 or 4 miles without any problem, plays basketball, runs easily and his blood sugars and fats are absolutely normal.
Do you think I should (or can I at all) allow him to join SP?

Edited by: JENNIEQKA at: 8/26/2012 (08:57)
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