WHAT IS GROWTH SPURTS?
Growth spurts can simply be defined as increases in weight and height and other body changes that occur from birth leading up to puberty. These growths such as hair growth, teeth coming out and falling off, legs getting longer and so on are usually more obvious during the first year of a child’s life and around puberty. This doesn’t mean that growth stops occurring outside this period just that they’re less noticeable. That explains why a lot of parents at one point start to wonder if their little one is growing at all.
During the first year of life, a lot of amazing growth occurs. Babies grow about 10 inches in length and almost always triple their birth weights. After age 1 though, parents can notice that growth in length slows down and by age 2, growth in length continues at a fairly steady rate of about 2 per year until adolescence. Up until adolescence, no child grows at a steady rate. Some growth could be recorded in some months while nothing seems to be happening in other months. These are all super exciting times for both parents and babies.
Asides first year of a baby’s life, another time to expect major growth spurt would be during puberty. Puberty lasts about 2 to 5 years and these growth occurs usually between 8 to 13 years of age in girls and 10 to 15 years in boys and are very noticeable. This period is when your child’s biggest and fastest spurts occur. Most times it feels like when you turn around, your child suddenly adds an inch or puts on weight.
Growth spurts that occur during this time are mostly associated with sexual development like the start of menstruation in girls, the appearance of pubic hair and underarm hair in both boys and girls, development of sexual organs and so on. This growth occurs so far and so soon that by the time a girl reaches age 15 and a boy reaches age 16, these growths would have ended and they would have reached what we call “maturity”. During this time also, females grow an average of 3 ½ inches a year and males an average of 4 inches a year.
It is important to make sure that your child’s intake of calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals support healthy growth. Try to incorporate healthy food and nutrients into your child’s diet. Offer foods from each of the food groups on a regular basis to help ensure that your child gets all that is required.
MAJOR SIGNS THAT YOUR CHILD IS HAVING A GROWTH SPURT
He Sleeps Longer Than Usual
A lot of growth occurs during sleep because of the secretion of human growth hormone peak throughout the night. That does not necessarily mean children should be allowed to sleep at any time just because they are experiencing growth spurts. Know when your child is trying to be lazy and make necessary adjustments.
He Is Always Hungry Or Eats More In One Sitting
Due to the increased nutrition needs associated with growth, your child will likely experience a surge of hunger before and during growth spurts. Make sure the additional calories are from healthy options and not snacks and sweets.
He Cannot Fit Into His Pants Anymore
During growth spurts, children’s legs tend to grow longer even before their torso expands. One day his trouser fits perfectly and the next day it’s riding a few inches above his ankles. Just get ready to stock up on new clothes for your children during this time.
He / She Has Started Puberty
Major growth spurts coincide with puberty. You notice that your son suddenly has one or two hairs poking through his chin, his voice changes and your daughter suddenly grows bigger breasts or starts menstruating.
He / She Is Gaining Weight
It is normal for your child’s weight to go up during growth spurts. Try and pay attention during this period and provide support to your child so it doesn’t lead to future body image issues.
Some children might experience aches in legs, especially around their calves, knees, and front of the thighs. These are sometimes common in the elementary years, around age 3 up to age 12. Usually, with a little rest, the pain subsides. Warm compresses and gentle stretching can prove helpful. If the pain persists, or if the area is tender, this may indicate a more serious problem. If the involved area is red, swollen, associated with any type of body rash and if it is accompanied by a fever, call your child’s doctor.