Why Measuring Your Child's Height is Vitally Important

Do you keep track of how much your child grows each year?  Not sure where to begin?  Today is Children’s Growth Awareness Day, something I had not heard of before doing this research.  We've always done ad hoc measuring and vaguely kept track of the girls' height, but I hadn't realised that checking your child's yearly growth is also an important way to check their health and wellbeing.

Why should I measure my child's height?

Just as you did in your health visitor red book when they were babies, checking percentiles etc, measuring your child's height as they grow is an important way to check they are developing as they should be.

A child's growth is much more than just how tall they are, it is also an important indicator of their overall health and wellbeing.  As parents we need to actively track our children's height and growth and to use this information to make sure our children are developing well and staying healthy.

It is essential for parents to be actively aware of and tracking their child’s height and growth.  Read on for how to measure your child's height accurately.  You can find a handy growth calculator on the site Morethanheight.com to help you track your child's growth.

How to accurately measure your child's height

When measuring height, there are a few important things to remember that may affect the result you get.  First of all, make sure you have a ruler, pencil and measuring tape and a plain, clear vertical surface your child can stand against, ideally a wall as doors can move when leaned against!

Before you begin measuring, remove your child's shoes and any hair clips or ties.  Ask your child to stand against a wall and ensure that they are positioned correctly.  Their feet should be flat on the ground and placed together, with heels against the wall.  Legs should be straight with shoulders and bottom touching the wall.  Arms should be hanging loose at their sides with their head back against the wall and level.

Draw a line across the wall at the top of your child’s head.  Then measure from the line to the floor.  Record each child's height using a measuring tape three times, then take an average of the three measurements (add them together and divide the total by 3) to find the correct value.

I managed to overlook Sophia's (wild Italian) hair being up on the first measuring and Tatiana was doing some weird pirate leaning thing on the second so my results were a bit all over the place initially!  Luckily, second time round I got everyone's position right and got much more accurate results to average!

How to keep track of your child's growth

Keep a note of your child's measurement, perhaps in your red book if you still have it, or in a separate notebook.  Or you could plot it on a growth chart either printed out or online.  By plotting their measurement on a growth chart, you can be confident that your child is growing exactly as they should be!

For more information about healthy growth, how to measure, a handy growth chart, or advice on how to talk to your child's doctor, check out Morethanheight.com.  This handy resource for parents provides information, tools and resources to help you to better understand your child’s growth and development.

What if you think there might be a problem?

People are, of course, all shapes and sizes, but from birth to puberty all children will grow at a different but predictable rate year on year.  So, if your child was taller or shorter than average as a baby this will probably remain the case, but they will still grow by a predictable amount each year.

You may notice that your child is growing at a different pace to their friends or other children in the same age group.  When something like this catches your attention, it's important to discuss it with your child's GP or paediatrician to ensure your child is developing as they should, and to find out if there are any underlying health issues you are not aware of.

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