Is Your Child Unusually Short?
Even though your child's maximum height is eventually determined by genetics, there are some secret steps that you can take to help your child grow taller. Here’s what we want to share with you!
In Singapore, after your child is born, you are given a health booklet to help track your child’s growth. Details such as his height, weight and immunisation jabs (vaccinations) are duly recorded.
So, what is the exact purpose of this booklet?
Well, this book of records surely helps you track the development of your child. But does it advise you on how to go about stimulating the growth of your child? Or how to make him taller?
Never mind. Because we’ve got a few secrets about how to help your child grow taller, that we really want to share with you!
But first, some facts about your child’s height, including what determines it in the first place.
Genetics vs. Human Intervention
While your child's ultimate height will be eventually determined by genetics, you can still take some steps to ensure that your child reaches his optimal height.
At this point, you may even be wondering, “Why is this even important? Does height really matter?”
Let’s get these questions out of the way first!
After reaching primary school, your child will become conscious about his height as comparisons with peers start at this age. It’s not just in school. Height matters beyond the walls of the classroom, too. For example, in some amusement parks, certain rides are open only to kids who meet the minimum height criteria.
Your child will keep growing until his teen years and early youth. But if he or she does not grow tall enough, it may lead to feelings of inadequacy or low self-esteem. Tall men are even more likely to find a long-term partner, or achieve greater career success as indicated by studies!
So, mums and dads, height does matter for your child!
Helping Your Child Grow Taller
Before you set any targets, let’s see what the normal growth ranges are for children.
The MAGIC Foundation for Children's Growth recommends normal growth for children from age four to puberty in the range of two inches per year.
Further, girls usually have a growth spurt of 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 inches a year starting around the age of 10, when puberty hits. Boys, on the other hand, experience their growth spurt around the age of 12 and grow three to five inches a year.
You can help your child reach his optimal growth level by paying attention to the following three factors:
1. Adequate Sleep
Sleep plays an important role in the physical and mental development of a child.
There is a direct connection between sleep and growth: the body recharges, repairs and produces growth hormones during sleep. Clearly, if children don’t have enough time to rest and recharge, their growth will be affected.
Here is a rough guide indicating how much sleep kids of different ages need daily:
- Age three to five: 11 to 13 hours of sleep including naptime
- Age five to 10: 10 to 11 hours of sleep each night
- Age 10 to 17: 8 ½ to 9 ½ hours of sleep each night
Secret Tip: Irrespective of your child’s age, encourage them go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up at the same time every morning, including weekends. This will help establish a good sleeping pattern for your child.
2. Proper Nutrition
Like sleeping well, eating well (having a balanced diet) will also have a great impact on your child’s growth. Only proper nutrition will help your kids grow to their full potential.
As a parent, you have to make sure that children have proper intake of minerals, vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates and fats — all the nutrients that their body needs to grow.
Calcium is one of the most important nutrients that fuels growth in children. It helps the bones grow longer and stronger. This is significant given that bones form the skeleton and this ultimately determines the height.
Besides calcium for growth and height, it is equally important for the development of a good set of teeth. According to Dr Anita Menon of Thomson Paediatric Centre, “Calcium is very important in babies’ and children’s diets. Not only is it the most abundant mineral in the body, but it is also of vital importance in bone growth and teeth development as well as for proper functioning of nerves and muscles.” (Source: The Bone Builders, by NUH, Singapore)
According to US National Institutes of Health, kids of ages one to three need 700 mg of calcium every day; ages four to eight need 1,000 mg; and ages nine to 18 need 1,300 mg.
Secret Tip: The most common sources of calcium for children are dairy (milk, cheese, yoghurt, etc.), seeds, sardines and salmon, beans and lentils and some leafy greens. However, children might turn their noses up at some of the calcium-rich foods we mentioned. In that case, you can consider offering them yummy calcium supplements instead*!
Caltrate® Kids Gummies are great-tasting yoghurt-flavoured treats, and an enjoyable, convenient way to meet your child's daily calcium needs. They are a good source of calcium for children aged four or above, and a delicious way to kick-start a healthy calcium routine. Just five pieces of Caltrate® Kids Gummies are equivalent to the calcium content in 200ml of milk!**
* Do note that vitamin supplements should not replace a balanced diet.
**Source: Eating For Healthy Bones, from Nutrition & Dietetics Great Western Hospital - April 2009
3. Adequate Exercise
Nature has made sure that kids just love to run around and play, and also that they have higher metabolisms in comparison to adults. These things automatically help their bodies develop. It also means children don’t need to hit the gym as adults do! For them, the jungle gym in the playground will suffice!
Physical activity in kids boosts their growth hormone development. This may result in stronger, and even longer bones. For older kids, stretching also helps to elongate the spine and improve posture, making kids stand straighter and taller.
However, because of sugar-loaded food and drinks and fewer opportunities to play due, for example, to too much schoolwork or excessive use of gadgets, obesity is becoming more common in kids. Exercise will help your child avoid this problem.
Secret Tip: The U.S. Department of Education recommends that a child needs at least 60 minutes of exercise every day. As a parent, encourage your child to walk to school or the grocery store or run errands on foot.
Also, figure out what sport your child loves and enrol them for classes, ensuring that they remain active in the evenings or on the weekend. You can also assign them household chores like vacuuming or mopping. They get exercise and you get a clean house – so it’s a win-win situation!
Mums and dads, clearly, even though growing tall is dependent on genetics, it does not mean that you can’t do anything to help your shorter-than-average child grow taller. With the above tips, you can help your child grow to their full potential and become confident adults of tomorrow.
Disclaimer: Article contributed by TheAsianParents. For more information on Caltrate Kids Gummies please visit the website.