No matter the age of your child, you’re probably eager to know about growth charts for girls. This article will help you understand how growth charts work and help you better understand how monitoring your child’s growth can impact their life.
If you’ve taken your child to the pediatrician, you’ve probably noticed that kids come in all shapes and sizes — even at the same age. Some children look much bigger or a little smaller than what their age might suggest.
Growth varies a lot from child to child, so remember that being a little bigger or smaller than average isn’t always a reliable indicator of health. There’s a wide range of healthy sizes and shapes among children, and boys grow differently from girls.
What makes children grow differently? Some of the main factors are gender, genetics, nutrition, health problems, physical activity, hormones, lifestyle, and even the environment.
Parents often worry if their children are growing “normally,” and doctors use growth charts to help answer these questions.
Let’s focus on the female growth chart.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publish a growth chart for girls from ages 2 to 20. Here, you can see and plot the pattern of your child’s growth. Before trying to find a trend and determine if your daughter is growing normally, let’s first learn how the growth chart works. Here are a few terms to know:
You’ll hear this word a lot because it’s the most common indicator when assessing your child’s size and growth patterns. A percentile ranks an individual based on what percentage of the people measured are above and below them. For example, a girl in the “30th percentile” for weight means she weighs more than 30 percent of the other girls in her age range. This also means that she weighs less than 70 percent of the other girls her age.
- Head circumference
Head circumference in babies is the distance around the largest part of the head. A baby’s head circumference can provide information if there are any abnormalities in your baby’s brain development.
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- Growth spurts
Growth in children is not steady or linear. In fact, it happens in spurts. How do you know if your child is having a growth spurt? Here are a few indicators:
- Your child eats more than usual or is hungry more often.
- Your child is taking longer naps or sleeping longer through the night.
The WHO growth standards below can be used to monitor growth for infants and children between birth and two years old in the United States.
Regular visits to your child’s pediatrician will also provide information about the appropriate weight and height for girls her age. This will give you an idea of how your daughter is growing and if there are any problems that need to be addressed.
Unless there’s an alarming and/or rapid change in your child’s percentile, there’s probably nothing to worry about if your child is not in the “normal” range. There are a lot of things that can cause variations in growth, such as minor illnesses or changes in activities like going to school. And don’t forget that girls grow differently than boys!
If there is a dramatic change in height or head circumference, or an unexpected drop into a lower percentile, your doctor might want to dig deeper to find the cause.