At a certain age, our children grow at a remarkable speed. You are sure to have witnessed your child grow rapidly within no time. This is called a growth spurt, a quick increment in your child’s height and weight. While this occurs mostly during the first year and around puberty, growth spurts can occur at other times as well.
Up until the age of 4, your child gains about 2 inches in height and up to 2 kilos in weight per year. Most of the growth between the ages of 1 and 3 occur in the legs and the trunk.
Children usually see a decrease in body fat between the ages of 1 and 5. As a result, your child starts to get leaner and muscular during these years.
Though the general convention dictates that our children will grow in a certain number of kilos and centimetres every year, growth as a whole is rarely steady or even. In most cases growth tends to happen in spurts. Some of the signs of growth spurts are as follows.
- Your child may seem a lot hungrier and have an increased appetite.
- Your child may sleep more.
- Your child might get cranky and cling on to you more than usual
There are certain aspects which are necessary for you to remember about growth spurts, such as:
- Do not consider growth spurts as the only cause when assessing behavioural changes in your child. There isn’t a specific diet for children undergoing growth spurts.
- Growth spurts usually last for a few days.
- No changes in the diet are necessary during growth spurts. For example, do not feed your child less with the assumption that he/she is growing too fast.
- Parents notice growth spurts usually when they dress their child and see that their clothes no longer fit them.
- It is common for your child to outgrow two clothing sizes in a year
How to respond to growth spurts
There is not much for you to do, except:
- Do not cut down on food portions if your child seems to have built a bigger appetite. You may feed him/her a tad more by providing healthy snacks during growth spurts.
- Preschoolers usually swing between eating too little and eating too much. Let your child stick to how much is consumable.
- Kids do tend to sleep for long hours. Allow your little one that extra hour or so if he/she needs it. This is common during growth spurts.
How to handle the pains during growth spurts
There is no scientific evidence that points to growth spurts causing growing pains. The term growing pains is a misnomer. However, most kids of the age between 3 and 5 report muscle aches or spasm after a lot of physical activity. You may see your child waking up complaining of such pains in the middle of the night.
Remember that these pains usually follow a lot of physical activities. You may gently massage, caress the aching parts with a warm cloth or have the child do gentle stretches to help ease the pain. If the pain persists beyond a day, consult your doctor to rule out other causes.