Time (and calories) to burn
Trap 2: You spend lots of time sitting while you supervise your kids' activities.
You're probably devoting many hours to watching over your child, at home and at the park. The downside is that sitting doesn't burn many calories. But there are easy ways to turn up the activity level.
If your baby's in a bouncer seat or a swing, for instance, you could put on an exercise video or do toning moves while you watch her. When Ginny Wright of San Anselmo, California, takes her two boys, ages 5 and 7, to the playground, she doesn't park her derriere on a bench. "While they're playing, I'll do chin-ups and dips on the bars," she says. "Or we'll take the bat and ball to the park so I can pitch to the boys and chase down the balls." Even walking around the playground instead of bench-warming will help you burn extra calories. At home, you can put on rock or R&B music and dance your heart out with the kids. "It's fun, and it sends a great message to your kids about the importance of keeping active," Bonci points out.
Trap 3: You've made a habit of munching with your kids.
"One of the biggest faux pas is when you clean their plates," says Kathleen Zelman, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Or maybe you're snacking with your kids when you feed them dinner, and then wind up eating a full meal with your husband later. You don't realize that all those nibbles really add up.
Here's a reality check:
* A bite of grilled cheese = 50 calories * ½ peanut butter and jelly sandwich = 88 calories * A bite of a Pop-Tart = 26 calories * Four french fries = 60 calories
Snacking doesn't have to be taboo, as long as you kid-size your portions. Instead of eating crackers out of the box, for instance, put a single serving into a bowl or onto a plate so you really see them and don't just eat half a box without thinking. It's also smart to offer your kids wholesome choices for snacks, as Robyn Ryan, mom of a 6-year-old girl and a 3-year-old boy near Albany, New York, does. "I cut up two pears and a kiwi, and we share it. I want my kids to get into the habit of eating nutritious snacks."