Understanding Your Child’s Size

Not letting the opinions of others affect your own outlook is easier said than done, especially when those opinions apply to your child. Social norms have led most to have certain expectations about a child’s size in correlation with his or her behaviors. For example, a 2-year old who has grown quickly may look as if he or she should be behaving as a 3-year old and no longer in the trenches of the “terrible twos.” Or, someone may be of the opinion that all 9-month olds should be walking.

What You Should Do

It’s important to understand that growth and development is a spectrum. The best way to gain an understanding of this is through regular discussions with your pediatric provider about realistic expectations. From there, you can keep your perceptions and the reactions of others in check. You may even begin to approach the subject with a humorous outlook.

What Your Child Should Do

As your child continues to develop and grow, his or her level of self-awareness will also continue to grow. The relationship that your child has with your pediatric provider over time will help with better understanding his or her body and feeling more comfortable bringing up any concerns that may arise throughout the stages of development.

While children will always hear what others say, especially those around their own age, it’s important to leave the topic of size up for discussion when questions arise. Try not to limit activities or interests based on physical appearance, and instead support them in any endeavors they’re confident enough to pursue. For instance, a child doesn’t need to be tall to join the basketball team. The same goes for dancers and being petite. With age comes new interests and strengths. Let your child choose what makes she or he feel most successful.

Always remember that not all children grow at the same rate. If you have concerns that your child may have a growth disorder, talk to your pediatrician first.