The developmental years of your child's life are not only important for physical development, but for cognitive development as well. Monitoring your child's physical development, especially from the ages of 1-12, provides a reliable gauge for overall health and nutrition. To keep abreast on your child's development, here's a guide on what you need to know to monitor his/ her growth.
Get on the right footing
Every parent knows that getting children to polish off their plates can be tricky. Picky eaters can be especially challenging when it comes to ensuring that they are getting adequate nutrients and calories. Since nutrition is the backbone of their growth and development, tracking their intake is important. Providing your child with a healthy and balanced diet can also increase concentration, memory, and energy which will then reflect positively on academic and social activities*.
As children grow at different rates, you should work with your child's doctor to monitor height and weight changes so that you can keep growth on track. Regular monitoring can help identify abnormal growth patterns that can be due to either over or undernutrition. Furthermore, if a child falls sick frequently or has chronic conditions such as eczema, diarrhoea, asthma, hormonal problems, or unaddressed heart conditions, he/she may experience faltering growth.
Track the changes
Children grow at an accelerated pace during their early years and the rates are affected not only by genetics, but also nutrition, health, and hormones. That's why it's important to regularly plot height and weight on the growth charts that are found in your child’s Health Booklet. This way, you'll be able to track your child's growth over time against his/ her own growth percentile. In general, if your child is tracking along the growth percentile, growth may be considered normal. If you observe any deviation or are concerned about the trajectory of growth, do discuss this with your child’s paediatrician.
When talking to your child's doctor, share your child's growth charts and give the doctor an accurate picture of your child's health and nutrition intake, as well as accurate measurements of both mother and father. Maximise your time with the doctor and ask the right questions. A few good questions include:
- Is my child overweight or underweight?
- Is my child’s height tracking well?
- How can I improve my child’s eating habits?
- My child falls ill frequently and, eats poorly during these episodes. How can I ensure my child eats enough to recover and still grow appropriately?
- Does my child need to take any supplements?
The role of nutrition
Making sure your child has adequate nutrition is one of the key factors of ensuring his/her success later in life. If you're concerned that your child might not be getting the nutrients needed for development, ask your doctor about complete and balanced nutritional supplements such as PediaSure.
Tracking your child’s growth is paramount in overseeing overall development and ensuring optimal nutritional support. This is one of the key things we should do as parents of growing children.