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3 Simple Steps to Determine if Your Child is Growing Normally


3 Simple Steps to Determine if Your Child is Growing Normally

Parents are given so many tips and guidelines on how to keep their children healthy. As a parent, it is important to monitor your child's physical, social and emotional development. So how can you determine if your child is growing normally?
The first thing to point out is that development rates differ from one child to another. Many children may grow at a slower rate only to experience a growth spurt at a certain period of their life.

What is a Growth Spurt?

A growth spurt is a time where the body produces large amounts of growth hormones resulting in increased height, bone development and weight gain.
There is no way to predict the exact date of a growth spurt, however; there are general guidelines for how tall or how much your child should weigh at a certain age.
These general guidelines known as growth charts help you track your child's development.
You can use our Growth Chart Calculator to begin assessing your child's development.

Step 1: Is My Child Too Short?

Short is a very relative word to use on children. The scientific definition for a short child is one that 97% shorter than children of the same age and sex.
If your child falls under this category, you must consult with a pediatrician for appropriate tests.
Your child's height depends on three main factors: genetics, hormone levels and nutrition. If you and your spouse are considered to be average or short, your child is very likely to be short as well.
Growth hormone deficiencies can result in short stature. Early detection by a pediatrician can help your child go back on track.

Step 2: Is My Child Too Skinny or Overweight?

Underweight
Underweight children are children that weigh much less than their peers of the same age and sex.
If your child falls under this category, you must consult with a pediatrician for appropriate tests.
Your child's weight depends on three main factors: genetics, digestive health, immunity, allergies and nutrition. If you and your spouse are considered to be average or skinny and you have no family history of obesity, your child is very likely to be thin as well.
When it comes to weight, it is important to determine whether your child has recently stopped gaining weight. As this may suggest there's an underlying condition.
Digestive health is one of the most commonly overlooked causes behind underweight children. If your child's intestines are not properly absorbing nutrients, this may lead to your child being underweight.
Moreover, if your child's immunity is compromised and/or trying to fight infection, your child is likely to stop gaining weight and loses weight instead.
Allergies and food intolerances can also cause your child to be underweight. As the body struggles to take in nutrients, your child's weight will suffer.
Proper nutrition rich in vitamins and minerals is critical to your child's development. If your child is underweight, make sure your child's diet is compromised of fresh vegetables and fruits.
Overweight
Overweight children are children that weigh much more than their peers of the same age and sex.
If your child is currently overweight, this means he/she is taking in more calories than expended. Incorporating fresh vegetables and fruits in your child's diet and regular exercise will help him/her get back on track.
It is important to cut back on processed foods in your child's diet as they lack nutrients and are considered to be "empty calories".
If your child is active and following a hearty diet, consult with your pediatrician to rule out any hormonal or glandular dysfunctions.

Step 3: Is My Child Underactive or Hyperactive?

To assess a child's development, a pediatrician tracks his/her ability to do certain tasks such as holding objects, playing, climbing, running, and interacting with peers.
Active children are healthy children. Your children's activity level depends on proper nutrition and proper bone, muscle and brain development.
To track your child's growth in terms of activities performed, start by consulting our child development guides.
Hyperactive
Hyperactive children are children that are unable to sit down or stay still without fidgeting or trying to get up. Hyperactive children spend most of their time moving around and rarely sit down to eat.
If your child is not eating properly due to increased activity, consult with your pediatrician for an ADHD diagnosis.
It is important to resolve any hyperactivity issues for your child to be able to grow healthily and develop better cognitive skills.

How to Cope with Any Development Obstacles

Many parents feel pressured when their child falls off the growth charts. It is important to cope with any negative feelings without exposing your child to them.
Children can be very sensitive about their development and matching their peers. To better cope with any development obstacles, you must:

  • Never make development remarks to your child such as "You're too short" or "you're too overweight", as this may affect their psychological development
  • Discuss your options with your pediatrician; do not take any steps without proper consultation
  • Avoid gimmicks and schemes that claim to increase your child's height or weight
  • Stay positive and implement the doctor's guidelines to put your child back on track
  • Encourage your child to take part in all activities regardless of his/her ability or inability to compete – many short and/or overweight children shy away from sports fearing rejection
  • Don't compare your child to siblings and children in the direct environment; remember that each child has his/her own biological clock and growth spurts
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