Children can learn to stand at different times, and many parents hope that their child can learn to stand early. However, there is information suggesting that encouraging a child to stand too early can hinder natural bone development and affect their height. So, is it good for a child to learn to stand early and does it hinder their height development?
A child learning to stand early is often seen as achieving a certain milestone and becoming a source of pride for parents. However, the reality is that children between the ages of 10 and 18 months are typically the ones who start learning to stand and walk. If a child learns to stand too early, their developing spine may be subjected to excessive strain from the weight of their head and upper body, potentially causing injury.
The hip joints of a standing child may also be affected by their current body weight, making them susceptible to thigh bone compression. The bone structure is still pliable and therefore prone to deformation, especially in the lower leg bones. Children who stand and walk early may be at risk of developing flat feet syndrome due to the direct weight of their body on their feet causing an overload of pressure. All of these bone and joint conditions can affect the overall health and growth of a child, hindering their height development.
Should children be encouraged to learn to stand early?
Based on the above information, it is clear that we should not encourage children to stand early and should not pressure them to do so. Encouraging a child to stand early can be harmful to their health, especially their bone and joint structure. When a child is around 10 months old, parents can monitor their development and look for signs that the child is ready to start standing. These signs include the ability to lift their head, turn their body, balance themselves, and have stability in their torso.
Should children be encouraged to learn to walk early?
Learning to walk is an important developmental step for children. However, encouraging children to walk early or late depends on their body condition and how they are nurtured by their family. Typically, children start learning to walk between 12 and 15 months old. Some children may begin walking at 9 months old or after 18 months old. A child is considered ready to learn to walk when they can stand steadily, maintain balance while standing, and have a stable body.
Can encouraging a child to stand early lead to stunted growth?
The height of a child depends on many factors such as genetics, nutrition, exercise habits, sleep, living environment, bone and joint health… Encouraging a child to stand too early can be harmful to the bone and joint system. Weak bones or foot abnormalities caused by standing when bone structures are not ready can hinder growth. Although it does not directly cause a child to become short, parents should pay attention to the timing of starting to encourage their child to stand to ensure the best bone health for their child.
Ways to increase height for children that parents should know
After going through a period of rapid growth in the womb, a child continues to have strong height development in the first 3 years of life and experiences a growth spurt during puberty. To ensure optimal physical development and height growth for their child, parents need to take care of their child’s health properly as follows:
Apply a healthy diet
Nutrition is important if you want to nourish your child’s bones and promote rapid development. Children need to be supplemented with sufficient groups of nutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals with balanced levels according to the recommended needs at each age. Specific nutrients that contribute to height growth include: calcium, type 2 collagen, vitamin D, vitamin K, protein, magnesium, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, iron…
Except for the first 6 months of life when a child mainly drinks milk (breast milk or formula), after 6 months of age, parents can introduce their child to adult foods. The list of foods good for height growth includes: fish and seafood, eggs, chicken, lean beef, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, milk, yogurt, cheese, cereals, legumes, and nuts like soybeans, almonds…
A scientific nutrition regime should be maintained long-term to ensure bones are continually nourished and developed to their full potential. Parents should plan a menu with healthy foods, divide meals into 3 main meals and 2 snacks to ensure adequate nutrition for the body.
Encouraging children to exercise
The habit of exercising with physical activities, sports, or any form of physical activity can give children a 20% optimal growth rate. Depending on the age of the child, parents can choose suitable forms of exercise. For children who do not yet know how to walk or stand, they have their own movements such as crawling, rolling, flipping, or parents can massage their backs, arms, legs, and neck.
For children who are able to actively exercise, parents can show them some forms of exercise that are good for height such as cycling, running, yoga, jumping rope, swinging, swimming, playing volleyball, basketball, badminton, etc. Maintaining a habit of exercising helps children have healthy bones and joints, stimulates rapid height growth, and improves overall health.
Establishing a habit of early bedtime for children
Over 90% of height growth occurs during sleep when the bones are relaxed and not bearing the weight of the body. When children are in deep sleep, their bodies produce growth hormone with the highest concentration of the day. This is a type of hormone that significantly affects the height growth process and supports children’s optimal height development.
Children should go to bed before 10 p.m. and get enough sleep every day according to their age as follows:
- Under 3 months old: 16-18 hours/day
- 4-11 months old: 12-26 hours/day
- 1-2 years old: 11-14 hours/day
- 3-5 years old: 11-13 hours/day
- 6-13 years old: 9-11 hours/day
- 14-17 years old: 8-10 hours/day
- 18-25 years old: 7-9 hours/day.
Getting sunlight exposure for children
Sunlight through the mechanism of ultraviolet radiation helps the child’s body synthesize a amount of vitamin D under the skin, especially vitamin D3. This is a recommended method to supplement vitamin D for young children in order to support the body’s full absorption of calcium, preventing excess or accumulation of calcium after supplementation. The ideal time for sun exposure is before 9 a.m. and after 3 p.m. Parents can also encourage their children to participate in outdoor physical activities during this time to double the value of their health.
Maintain a healthy body weight
Weight should be proportional to height if you want to promote optimal height growth. Underweight children may be thin and at risk of bone malnutrition, while overweight children may have excess fat that presses against their bones and interferes with growth. Bones that don’t receive adequate nutrition become weak and growth slows down. To ensure your child’s weight is appropriate for their height and maintained at a stable level, pay attention to their diet and balance their food intake with healthy foods. Limit your child’s intake of overly sweet, salty, or fatty foods to avoid affecting their weight. In addition, daily exercise habits can help children regulate their energy levels and burn excess calories from overeating.
Stay away from growth inhibiting factors
Here are some bad habits that interfere with height growth and should be avoided for children:
- Exposure to stimulants such as cigarette smoke, fast food, soda, processed foods, etc.
- Sedentary behavior, such as sitting for long periods of time, watching TV, playing video games, or using a phone or tablet.
- Staying up late or frequently experiencing academic stress.
Using nutritional supplements
Nowadays, using nutritional supplements is a simple and effective way to compensate for nutrient deficiencies. These products can be in the form of tablets, capsules, chewables, syrups, etc., and provide different types of nutrients. Parents need to understand that daily meals can also lose nutrients due to processing and preservation methods. Moreover, children’s bodies may not absorb nutrients efficiently, leading to suboptimal supplementation through natural foods.
If parents notice that their child’s growth rate is slower than the growth chart, they can supplement their child’s diet with foods that support height growth. Choosing products that follow these guidelines can help ensure that the process of supplementing nutrition is efficient, and the child is healthy and maximizes their potential height:
- The origin and source of the product are reputable and clear.
- The composition of the nutrients in the product is appropriate for the child’s age, supports bone nutrition, and height growth.
- The product has been rigorously tested for safety and quality by trustworthy evaluation organizations.
- Many users have positive feedback.
Although a child may stand early when physically ready, it is not officially encouraged to avoid the risk of stunting growth. Parents should let their child practice standing from around 10 months old, ensuring that the child has good bone structure and physical behavior to maintain balance while standing. Finally, the crucial factor for achieving ideal height is that the child needs a healthy living environment, a balanced diet, moderate exercise, and adequate rest every day.