Growth spurts are an exciting time for a parent. We like to think of them as a satisfying result of caring for your baby, feeding them nutritious meals and nurturing them with fresh air, warm hugs and mountains of love. Your little one will thank you with a growth spurt and you’ll be back out shopping as their vests, shoes, t-shirts and trousers will suddenly be tighter and shorter!
A growth spurt is a moment in time when the child’s bones grow so their height and weight will increase more rapidly than normal. Growth spurts happen most frequently during the first year of life. At first every couple of weeks, then roughly every two to three months until they are a year old. Growth spurts return noticeably as the child reaches puberty, which is on average around the age of 10 for girls and 12 for boys. At this point, the growth spurt is usually seen more intensely in boys as their muscles develop. It can be a surprise to hear that these later growth spurts can last up to 18-19 years for girls and 20-22 years for boys. To learn more about early growth, head over to our blog to read an article dedicated to your baby’s growth spurts.
It is impossible to predict exactly when your child is going to go through a growth spurt, but there are a few signs that can give you a signal they are going through one. An increase in appetite is the most common, but there can also be a decrease in appetite. Little ones can get more restless during the night, and fussy during the day. You can expect a few more emotional outbursts and your little one might need more cuddles than usual. The most obvious sign, at the end of a growth spurt is that they will no longer fit their clothes as usual! During the toddling stage it’s very important to keep a close eye on their feet. Children can very quickly outgrow their shoes and it’s dangerous for their development if their toes are squeezed into shoes that are too small. If you have any concerns that your little one’s shoes are not fitting correctly, and if you cannot get them to a professional fitter, then head to our Measure at Home guide for tools, advice and peace of mind.
Growth spurts can happen at any time and every child will develop differently. So, if a relative or friend of the same age is experiencing a growth spurt, it doesn’t automatically indicate that your little one will go through one too. Some parents can get more anxious if their pre-pubescent teen is delayed in their growth and their friends are all charging ahead. All children are different and will follow their own pattern and it’s difficult to influence it.
However there are some key principles to ensuring that your child is growing healthily and given the very best chance to flourish. Sleep is as important during the teen years as it is at birth. In fact your teen might need more sleep than they have in previous years. A strong nutritious diet is important and as they are growing ensure they are getting plenty of calcium and vitamin D to support bone growth. Physical exercise is also critical to developing a healthy body.