Five Tips for Parent's Concerned about Their Child's Height Yankton SD
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Five Tips for Parent's Concerned about Their Child's Height
Health and Fitness
|The Shorter Student: Five Tips for Parents Concerned About Their Childs Height |
By Ellen Frankel
Pediatricians often report that at the beginning of each school year, there is an increase in calls from parents worried about their childs height. While moms and dads happily watch their sons and daughters growing over the summer months, many become concerned when they see their child looking shorter than many of their school classmates. Heres how to be sure youre not letting the societal prejudice against those who are short in nature cause you undue concern about your childs height:
Understand the Bell-Shaped Curve: The bell-shaped curve is based on the concept of a normal distribution. When looking at height, the bulk of the population will be in the middle of the curve, fewer will fall away from the center, and still fewer will fall into the tail ends of the curve. If a child falls into the 5% for height, it means that out of one hundred children the same age, ninety-five of them will be taller than him/her. Although many parents are worried about where their child falls on the growth curve, it is the childs rate of growth that is the most important factor to consider when evaluating if the child is growing and developing normally. Between the ages of three until puberty, the child grows about two inches per year, and then hits a growth spurt during puberty. Whether a child is in the 95%, the 50% or the 5% for height, the important question to ask is whether the child is showing a consistent pattern of growth regardless of the percentile he/she fal
ls into. The pediatrician will measure height at the childs annual physical, and plot that growth on the curve. If the child is not growing in a consistent patter, the doctor will determine whether tests are necessary to detect any medical problems related to growth.
Stay Away From Repeated Measuring: Though parents may continue to worry about their child being short, it is important to make sure that they are not conveying the message to their child that he/she doesnt measure-up. Its, therefore, best to stay away from repeated measuring. Taking out the tape measure or asking a child to stand against a growth chart on the wall can become a pressure and a stressor for the child, making him/her feel that the parents acceptance is based, at least in part, on growing taller. Growth is a painstakingly slow process over which parents and children have no control. The information provided at the annual physical should offer the necessary information to assess healthy growing patterns.
Stop Comparing: Along with the potential stress that children can experience with repeated height measuring, there is the pressure that results when comparisons with other siblings or friends are made. Commenting on how much taller a brother or friend is can be experienced by the shorter child as failin...