Care for Kids Growth

10/07/2017

Watching children grow, learn and play is a great joy of parenthood. There can’t be many parents who have not been amazed at the speed of growth, learning and questioning of their children.

Physically they grow at a sprint! Boys reach half their adult height at around 24 months, girls at around 19 months. Between the ages of 1 and 10 they grow about 7 1/2 cm per year, gaining about 2 kg per year.

With all this physical growth come immense learning, a two year old knows between 25 and 225 words, whereas a 10 year old knows over 10,000 words. You can test yourself it’s good fun and it helps in their research too!

Very quickly we become bigger, stronger and smarter. 

But what about healthier?

We hear so much about childhood obesity and excessive screen time it can be overwhelming. The American Academy of Paediatrics suggest limiting 2-5 year olds to 1 hour a day of high quality programmes. Confusingly, at the same time a huge international project finds that it is too complicated to dictate how much time our children spend in front of screens. But that we are far better off ensuring that the time children spend is monitored, controlled and used positively.

As Osteopaths we see children with aches, pains and sports injuries. These often come from sports injuries and developmental changes.

Children's growth comes mainly from their long bones (arms and legs), with their spines growing much more slowly. Not only do their limbs and bodies grow at different rates, but their left and right sides and muscles can grow at slightly different rates too. During a growth spurt children can grow 1 cm in 1 month. This can lead to temporary clumsiness, while it can cause some amusement it can also result in sprains and strains.

The magic tonic for children is activity. Not necessarily sport if they don’t enjoy it, but something to get them moving, help their strength, breathing, balance, coordination and mood.

The NHS suggests that children aged 5-18 years should do at least 60 minutes per day of moderate exercise (cycling/playground activities) to vigorous exercise (running/tennis) and on three of those days the exercises should be good for strength (press ups) and bone strength (running/jumping).

As osteopaths we often treat children with aches and pains, we are also trained in developmental issues such as Sever’s disease of the heel, Osgood-Schlatter knee and Scheuermann’s disease of the spine. All conditions which, if well managed, normally settle well without any lasting problems.

With so much research proving this, disproving that, contradicting the other, it’s easy to get frustrated and confused by it all. But hopefully as you read this you think “well, that’s all common sense anyway!” But the experts at the Trinity Practice are on hand for advice and gentle treatment if needed.

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