How the Monkey Bars Are Making My Daughter Feel Fat…at 6 Years Old!

Monkey bars

Photo credit: Microsoft

I don’t know what it is in this day and age that more and more little girls everywhere are calling themselves fat.

Is it society’s fault?

Is it the parent’s fault?


Apparently it’s the monkey bars fault! Well, in this case.

Yesterday my daughter came home from school, gave me her usual daily after-school kiss and hug and asked me a question that I was not prepared for.

“Mommy, how do you get skinny fast?”

I was dumbfounded.

Where did this come from?

Did her classmates tease her?

Was it something she heard at school?

Oh my gosh…..did she hear me complain to my husband that I was too fat for the 6 jeans I tried on just the other day?

So I asked her, “Why are you asking such a silly question? You know you are not fat baby. You are just right – just the way God made you.”

“Well, mommy, today I went on the monkey bars and I couldn’t let go of the bar to climb on to the next one like my friend did. I’m too fat! So how do you get skinny mommy?”

People, she’s only SIX! I don’t remember being this self-conscious at this age. 


I had to stop her and explain to her that I, too, couldn’t do the monkey bars to save my life.  I tried to tell her that it’s all about being strong enough to hold ourselves up.  It has nothing to do with being overweight (which she is not!).  It’s that we need to get stronger and by becoming stronger we need to eat our veggies, exercise and by practicing.  I told her, “Practice makes almost perfect.”

She gave me this disgusted face when I mentioned veggies. LOL

She sighed heavily.  She despises vegetables or anything that is green, except green grapes.

After talking to her about the word fat and how it’s not nice to say that, she finally got it. I think.

She said she was going to practice everyday until she got it.

And who the heck said parenting was easy?

Whew.  I’m tired just writing this post so imagine going through the conversation.

What types of conversations do you have with your children. Do you suffer from exhaustion when it’s all said and done?


  1. This parenting gig is hard. I’m glad she has a wonderful mom like you.
    Unknown Mami recently posted..Obituary or Ride to Nowhere

    • You’re telling me! *Sigh* I’m tying to be the best mom possible but it’s so difficult. We can only try, right? 😉 Thx for commenting.

  2. Monica Bertone says:

    The poor girl! It is really bad that kids come home at that age and are concerned with their weight. Heck, I’ve seen my girls refuse to wear clothes in K, cause they said they were not hip enough!!! Really?? What K kid knows fashion at that age?? Sad..

    Hope her day goes better, and she gets the monkey bars down!
    Monica Bertone recently posted..Wednesday Hodgepodge

  3. That’s hard. When my niece was younger my sister would be on me all the time about talking about my weight or appearance. She didn’t want her daughter hearing us talking about how we needed to lose weight or weren’t happy with the way we looked. It was tough and now I’m trying the same thing with my kids.
    Your response to your daughter was really nice.
    YvonneInLA recently posted..Connecting

    • I catch myself talking about my weight alot! it’s pathetic. Now I have to watch my mouth bc I don’t want my girls feeling self-conscious about their bodies. They’re too young. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  4. It was probably the first time she related her own weight to being unable to do an exercise or sport. Good job of explaining that it wasn’t about weight but about muscle strength and skills on the monkey bars.

    Feeling exhausted after a convo like that with our kids happens because we become too invested and anxious about the outcome. I’ve learned to breathe and relax my body while speaking to kids and to not be too invested in the outcome. There are always more opportunities to clarify topics we discuss – always a way to take another approach.

    Love your blog!

    Relaxed Lalo 😉

  5. When I was young I was self-conscious of my body because I felt I was too skinny. I had anemia growing up and was treated like a porcelain doll that could break and I hated it. That’s why it’s important to speak to children about strength rather than weight, just like you did with your daughter.
    Sujeiry recently posted..Sujeiry Recommends: The New Latina’s Bible

  6. The monkey bars are HARD! It’s all upper body strength. But I don’t remember feeling like this at 6. 6 is too too young. You gave the right advice. I would have said the same thing.
    Lisa Quinones-Fontanez recently posted..You Know You’re Doing Too Much When

  7. This is so sad. As the media becomes more a part of our daily routine, we see our girls coping with more and more social pressures. It’s terrible that a child that young should even be concerned with weight, especially when it’s really a non-issue and the child is far from overweight. As a parent, I try to keep my daughter protected from media and adult values of beauty. I hope that she can keep her innocence longer, but I know that it’s hard in today’s society. I think for your daughter though, you did a really great job explaining, because it’s not her weight that was an issue, but like you said…practice. It takes muscular strength to work those monkey bars…lol…and you definitely have to practice to build up that strength.

    I think it’s great that you gave her some practical advice and replaced the “fat” issue with real facts. 🙂
    Chantilly Patiño (@biculturalmom) recently posted..Toxic Relationships: Releasing the Burden

  8. No way! I couldn’t do and still can’t (for the life of me) do a push up let alone the monkey bars. I never could. I remember that in about 2nd or 3rd grade in gym class almost the same feeling. Maybe V is just confusing upper body strength for being the “f” word. I thought I was just weak as heck! Lol.

    Which brings me to the media and what we say. They both play a part in it. 🙁 I know I don’t always watch my words with my little M but they are always listening. I’ve learned to keep all comments about my appearance positive and not for nothing, they help me with my own self esteem too!

    I’m glad you had a talk with her. 🙂 And yes, I suffer from exhaustion after certain talks lol.

    • I’m gonna try my hardest to keep my weight issues out of her ears. Maybe I’ll just stop complaning and work that fat off! Lol thx for stopping by girl.

  9. Pobresita! You’ve got to love the innocence in how she said it. Like you, I don’t remember being aware of things like being fat or skinny at that age. I think you handled it great. I do the same thing with my daughters. Every opportunity I get, I mention how their bodies get stronger because of exercise and the food they eat. I let the girls do exercise DVDs with me and always tell them mami does so her body is strong so she can carry her girls and how it’s good for them so they can have energy to play and run around. I make sure to mention how the foods they eat nourish them. I love how you said practice makes “almost” perfect. So valuable to teach them that perfection isn’t the goal one should work for…it’s the journey there =) Just keep doing what you’re doing. She might keep getting messages about body image from her peers but the most important message is what she hears at home.
    Carla @ All of Me Now recently posted..DIY Blog Design

  10. The other day my little girl told me her belly was too big– it broke my heart. I think you are right, it’s society and I’d add the media. We have to be so careful to make sure our girls have positive body images.

    • That’s another thing my baby girl said. She said her belly was to big and I said that was just baby fat – because it is. I’m not too worried about her weight. I have two girls — HELP ME! lol Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  11. The monkey bars is about upper body strength. Of course, the more you weigh, the more strength you need. My son went through this at 6 or 7 years old. He couldn’t do chin ups for the same reason.

    It’s also common that children start out chubby until their growth spurt, and then become skinny. Still, it doesn’t matter. Our children need the self-esteem to accept who they are. That comes from being able to express and from discovering what they are good at.
    Aixa recently posted..Did you notice the top-right corner of the screen?

  12. Awh 🙁 This sort of thinking is starting earlier and earlier.

    I hated the monkey bars – just used to hang there, totally useless, until I got blisters. LOL.

    Good job, mama. You handled it well.
    Tracy recently posted..Tijuana

    • LOL! You always make me laugh with the things you say. I was like that too – just hanging til my fingers hurt. Oh well. Monkey bars aren’t for everyone! Thx for stopping by and commenting.

  13. I think you handled it well! The monkey bars are about practice just like any “sport”. I’m glad you pointed that out to her. Hang in there Mama! 🙂
    Patty @ A Day in My NYC recently posted..Do You Have the World’s Greatest BFF?

  14. Hun I am so sorry. I know I worry about my weight all the time but at the age of 6? That is terrible. Yes, being a Mama is always hard and there is no manual.
    Divina recently posted..Time to Play 2011 Holiday Showcase Picture Recap

  15. Dorothy Downs says:

    But after our talk, she hasn’t said anything about it. I let the girls do exercise DVDs with me and always tell them mami does so her body is strong so she can carry her girls and how it’s good for them so they can have energy to play and run around. I love how you said practice makes “almost” perfect. Hope her day goes better, and she gets the monkey bars down!
    Dorothy Downs recently posted..Cancer Tips

  16. Minnie Harris says:

    I know I don’t always watch my words with my little M but they are always listening. I’m learning all the time. Thank you for your warm comment. I hated the monkey bars – just used to hang there, totally useless, until I got blisters.

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