Children are a blessing and knowing that they are progressing properly is a great source of pride and peace of mind.
We all want to know that the child is doing alright in all aspects as they grow up. So we eagerly keep an eye on them and anticipate each measure of growth and developmental milestone along the way.
Part of these are body changes. Every change signals whether your child is growing properly.
Sadly, not everyone may know exactly what to monitor. Many people especially new parents may be aware that there will be significant increase in body weight and height as the child grows. Hair will grow, teeth will come in then out, and then come in again.
They’ll know that the child will eventually hit puberty – but still, how exactly should you track these indicators of growth?
Various entities have developed a number of tools like height charts you can use to monitor your child’s growth.You have probably encountered these tools at one point or another, perhaps even without being aware of it.
- At the Consulting Room
Early in the child’s life, you take him or her to visit a doctor regularly for checkups.
Have you ever wondered what these checkups are all about? What signals are doctors looking for to establish that your child is in perfect health?
These are questions few of us ever stop to ask.
During each checkup the doctor often records the height and weight of the child. They use these pieces of information to compare with data from other children in the same age group. Doctors put down these details on height charts or a growth chart.
The height chart is a valuable tool, helping pediatricians to determine whether a child is growing at an appropriate rate or if there might be certain problems.
- Size and Weight
These are the most basic elements of growth that parents often monitor. When you visit the doctor’s office, they will be documenting this data of your child to monitor their growth.
It’s important that you understand these elements so you can understand your child’s progression even without visiting your Pediatrician or GP.
There will be astonishing changes during your child’s first year. On average, babies grow a length of 25 centimeters (10 inches) and their birth weights triple.
Like many new parents, you may be astonished when your child’s growth slows down after that first year.
All that initial growth coming to a stop at the onset of the subsequent years tends to startle new parents. It’s important to understand that no child will continue to grow quickly after infancy.
The baby’s growth momentum slows considerably after age 1. By age 2, kids grow in height steadily – approximately 6 centimeters (2.5 inches) a year until they reach adolescence.
Use customisable height charts to plot your child’s growth at different ages. This data should stay on roughly the same percentile as that of the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) standardised growth chart when taken accurately and plotted over time.
Nurses (Maternal and Child Health) normally use the CDC percentile charts for children aged between 2 and 18 years old to measure height, weight and the Body Mass Index (BMI).
The World Health Organisation has percentile charts that you can use to measure weight, length and head circumferences for baby boys and girls aged 24 months and below.
Here’s something you must understand. No child will grow at a perfectly steady rate throughout their childhood. So you may encounter weeks or months of fairly slower growth alternating with particular spurts in growth throughout the growth curve.
Thus, some children may also be inherently slow in development. Given this, you might see smaller figures in their height charts. But you must know that these kids are absolutely normal and healthy. The delayed growth may be genetic especially if the parents are shorter.
On the bright side, if you have any concerns regarding your kid’s growth, you can consult your GP. They are sufficiently equipped to evaluate your child more systematically and study your family history. This approach will disclose enough information regarding your child’s condition.
In case of any anomaly, the doctor can always order or conduct tests to see if there is any medical condition affecting your child’s growth.
They may then choose to track the child’s growth more frequently on a growth or height chart. They may alternatively refer your child to a growth disorders specialist (pediatric endocrinologist) for enhanced evaluation.
Any problem detected early enough can always be remedied to help boost the child’s health.
Body mass index, also Quetelet index is the measure of body fat based on height and weight. It’s a value derived from the height and mass of an individual – weight (kg) / height (m) Height (m).
You can therefore use the information recorded on height charts and BMI percentile charts to compute your kid’s BMI. A higher BMI value would signify a greater risk of diseases such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis and some cancers.
The good part is that if you know your child has a high BMI, you would also know the kind of attention that should be given to them.
If your child’s BMI is anywhere between 18.5 and 24.9, rest assured that they are perfectly healthy even if they seem overweight or underweight.
- Sexual development
Here’s a challenging part: your son comes home from his baseball game and you can smell his odor from the other room.
Your little girl shys off from jogging because her breasts are becoming noticeably bouncy – time to get her a bra. That’s puberty.
It’s a time for a major spurt on growth, usually between 8 and 13 years for girls and from 10 to 15 years among boys.
Prepare to see a lot of sexual development in your child. Pubic and underarm hair will appear, sex organs will develop and for your girl, menstruation will begin.
Keeping track of these changes should give you that fulfilment that your kid is now becoming an adult.
Personalised height charts are a great way to keep track of your kid’s height. There’s an endless list of adorable personalised height charts to work well with a broad range of wall sticker designs that together should motivate you to monitor your child’s progression in style.