Growth disturbances are usually noticeable between the second and third year of life. If you feel that your child is too small, you should first keep calm and go to the pediatrician. Often, children grow in spurts and catch up on low growth later.
All parents want a visually “normal” child. If you think your child is strikingly small, it can be for a variety of reasons. As a first step, it is important to strengthen your child’s back if teased for its small size. A clarification of why the height is below the average, determines the further course of action.
Bad starting position – pent-up demand after birth
This complicated sounding term is behind most supposed growth disorders. Unfavorable conditions during pregnancy can lead to a child having to catch up on weight and height from birth. For example, smoking during pregnancy reduces the birth weight by an average of 300 grams, as well as unhealthy diet, kidney disease or diabetes of the mother can worsen the initial situation. Premature births and infants who need to stay in the hospital after birth are usually smaller than other children of the same age. However, around 90% of children are catching up with this delay in their first years of life due to particularly rapid growth.
If children are socially and emotionally neglected, this can also be expressed in short stature. The children grow extremely slowly – but at the same time no violence or neglect is recognizable. If the child gets a stable and emotionally present caregiver and best also changes the environment, then it usually begins after a few weeks to catch up the lost centimeters.
Congenital growth disorders
Before resorting to elaborate treatments and examinations, various measures can often be used to make a diagnosis about the cause of the growth disorder: a thorough history (recording the medical history) as well as checking the size of the parents, the rate of growth or a measurement of skeletal maturity often bring revealing results for the doctor. Then the appropriate therapy can be determined. Possible congenital or genetic growth disorders are, for example:
Systemic diseases such as Crohn’s disease (stiffening of the spine) or cystinosis (disturbance in amino acid metabolism)
Hormonal (endocrine) diseases such as hyperthyroidism (hypothyroidism) or growth hormone deficiency
The diagnosis of the exact cause is complicated, for the child very stressful and in some cases less reliable. Therefore, it should be clarified beforehand whether the growth disturbance is only a growth delay or due to external influences. A second doctor’s opinion is very helpful here, hormones on suspicion should not agree.
So help your little child
Children who are too small compared to others are often teased. Support your child as best he can by strengthening his self-confidence. But do not touch it with kid gloves or give it a special treatment, “only” because it has an apparent handicap. Remember: no one is really teased about his appearance, and the personality – especially the representation as a victim – also plays a big role. To make sure your child goes through life confidently, even though it is small, you should give him the assurance that you value and trust him.
Trust your child and respect his competencies – through words, but also through the responsibility they impart to him. This can be, for example, a task in the household or the care of a pet. But be careful not to overwhelm your child.
Praise it often, but only if it has done something really good.
Save criticism when it fails and encourage it to try again.
Take your child and their emotional state seriously and treat it respectfully. Do not operate on the feeling that it is small and weak.
A small body size can be a burden for a child, but is no reason to feel weak and inferior. How well your child copes with his otherness is also in your hands. Strengthen it wherever possible, but do not pimp it on account of its peculiarity.