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Health Information For Parents
Physical growth refers to the increases in height and weight and other body changes that happen as kids mature. Hair grows; teeth come in, come out, and come in again; and eventually puberty hits. It’s all part of the growth process.
The first year of life is a time of amazing change during which babies, on average, grow 10 inches (25 centimeters) in length and triple their birth weights.
Given all the growth that happens then, new parents might be surprised when their child doesn’t continue to grow so fast after the first year. But no child continues the rate of growth of infancy. After age 1, a baby’s growth in length slows quite a bit. By age 2, growth in height usually continues at a fairly steady rate of about 2½ inches (6 centimeters) per year until adolescence.
No child grows at a perfectly steady rate throughout this period of childhood, though. Weeks or months of slightly slower growth alternate with mini “growth spurts” in most children. Kids actually tend to grow a bit faster in the spring than during other times of the year!
A major growth spurt happens at the time of puberty, usually between 8 to 13 years of age in girls and 10 to 15 years in boys. Puberty lasts about 2 to 5 years. This growth spurt is associated with sexual development, which includes the appearance of pubic and underarm hair, the growth and development of sex organs, and in girls, the start of menstruation.
By the time girls reach age 15 and boys reach age 16 or 17, the growth of puberty has ended for most and they will have reached physical maturity.
Beginning in infancy, kids will visit a doctor for regular checkups. During these, the doctor will record height and weight as they compare with that of other kids the same age on a growth chart. This valuable tool can help the doctor determine whether a child is growing at an appropriate rate or whether there might be problems.
You can do a few things to help ensure that your child grows and develops normally. Critical to kids’ overall health and wellness are:
Kids differ in growth and development during childhood. And as with adults, some kids are taller or shorter. Generally, girls hit puberty earlier than boys, though some girls might lag behind their peers in breast development or getting their first period. All of this is usually normal.
Try to avoid comparing growth among siblings or other children. Drawing attention to height, for example, will only make kids feel self-conscious about their size. Encourage your kids to accept their own growth and development. Explain that some kids grow and develop at different rates — and late bloomers usually catch up eventually.
Kids have many questions about growth, from why their teeth fall out to tough or embarrassing topics like breast development or sweating. Answer questions honestly and even start talks about growth to help kids understand the many changes they’re facing. This will help them accept the changes positively.
If you’re uncomfortable discussing these topics, your kids may think there’s something shameful about the changes they go through and might be less likely to bring their concerns to you.
Kids who are short often face teasing by peers and may need help coping. You can help by supporting your child’s self-esteem. For example, it might be hard for a small boy to make the football team. But focusing on alternatives, such as soccer or tennis, may make him feel better about himself and what he can do. Try to understand your child’s feelings and keep the lines of communication open.
Another way to boost your child’s mood is to encourage activities that don’t focus on height or weight. Special skills and individual qualities, such as musical talent or a love of literature, are things to be proud of too.
Some parents worry about their child’s growth and development. So it can be reassuring to know that most kids who are short or delayed in development are healthy and normal. For example, shorter parents tend to have shorter children and not all kids develop at the same rate.
If you have concerns, talk with your doctor. The doctor can examine your child, ask questions about your family history and, if needed, order tests to see if there’s a medical condition affecting growth. The doctor may check your child’s growth more often or refer your child to a pediatric
(a doctor who treats growth disorders).
These age-specific guides can help you be prepared for and keep track of your well-child visits.
Doctors use growth charts to figure out whether kids’ height and weight measurements are “normal” and whether they’re developing on track. Here are some facts about growth charts.
Puberty was awkward enough when you were the one going through it. So how can you help your kids through all the changes?
Does your child sometimes wake up crying in the middle of the night complaining of throbbing leg pain? It could be growing pains.
Most kids grow well but some have âfailure to thrive.â This means they don’t gain weight as expected and may not grow as tall as they should.
“What’s the right weight for my child?” is one of the most common questions parents have. It seems like a simple one, but it’s not always easy to answer.
The other kids in the class have been getting taller and developing into young adults, but your child’s growth seems to be lagging behind. Could a growth disorder be the cause?
In most cases, teens who are small are just physically maturing a bit more slowly than their friends. Occasionally, though, there’s a medical reason why some kids and teens stop growing. Find out about growth problems and how doctors can help.
When you’re growing up, lots of changes happen and everyone wonders: Am I normal?
Concerned about your growth or development? Puberty can be delayed for several reasons. Luckily, doctors usually can help teens with delayed puberty to develop more normally.
On the way to becoming a man, a boy’s body will go through a lot of changes, including your body growing bigger, your voice changing, and hair sprouting everywhere. Find out more.
How do you like your height? Check out this article if you feel too tall or too short.
One of the biggest questions guys and girls have is whether they’re the right weight. Because the body is growing and changing so much during adolescence, it can be tough to answer this question.
Voice cracking? Clothes don’t fit? Puberty can be a confusing time, but learning about it doesn’t have to be. Read all about it in this article for kids.
Voice cracking? Clothes don’t fit? Puberty can be a confusing time, but learning about it doesn’t have to be. Read all about it.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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