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how to tell how tall your child will be

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It’s fun to dream about your child’s future. Where will he or she go to school? What profession will he or she enter? What will he or she look like?

And then there are more simple wonders, like: How tall will my child be?

Yes, we all want our children to be tall enough (without being too tall), but it’s hard to predict with accuracy where a child’s future height will top out. That said, there are several ways to estimate what a child’s height will be when grown up. You can even try them all and average together the outcomes to get a closer (but still rough) projection.

Here’s a look at everything you need to know about how tall your child will be, as well as a rundown of different ways to project your child’s future height.

As you can imagine, there’s no way to predict a child’s height with 100% accuracy. No matter how you project your child’s height (using the various methods mentioned below) remember that they are only estimates. Think of these estimates like polls: Polling data always comes with a “margin of error,” which tells you how far the poll could be off in any direction. There’s a margin of error when predicting your child’s future height, too, so take projections with a grain of salt.

 

3 Methods for How to Tell How Tall Your Child Will Be

As noted above, there are several ways to determine how tall a child will be. None of the methods are infallible, but you can always try them all and average the results for a closer estimate. Take a look at the 3 methods below, and give one a spin to answer the question: How tall will my child be?

1. The Formula

There’s a simple formula you can use to project your child’s future height, one that uses both the mother’s and father’s adult heights. Here’s how it works:

  1. Add the father’s height to the mother’s
  2. Add 5 inches for a boy and subtract 5 inches for a girl
  3. Divide that number by two

That’s not too hard, is it? Start by using this formula, and then try the other two (listed below) to see if you end up with numbers that are in the same ballpark.

2. The 2-Year-Old Approach

Do you know your child’s height at 2 years age? Perhaps the easiest and fastest way to estimate his or her future height is to use the 2-year-old approach. Here’s how it works …

  • Take your child’s height at age 2.
  • Multiply that height by two.

It’s that simple.

Keep in mind, though, that no method is completely accurate. For example, girls tend to develop along a faster timeline than boys, so doubling your daughter’s height at age 2 might provide an inflated future projection.

3. The Curve

Many pediatricians use a growth curve chart to project how tall their patients will be in the future. Here’s how to use one:

  1. Measure your child’s height.
  2. Plot your child’s height on the appropriate growth curve chart.
  3. Track the curve along the same percentile to see the height as an adult.

There are different growth curve charts for different genders, and you can find them all available for download on the CDC’s website.

If you’re interested in using a growth curve chart, you may want to go back to it over time. At different ages, your child may project higher or lower. Each time you use the chart, you’re getting a snapshot of how tall your child might be — but there’s no guarantee that projection will be his or her actual height as an adult.

 

Can Short Parents Have a Tall Child?

If both parents are short, it’s unlikely they will have tall children. That said, short parents can pass on latent genes that lead to tall kids from time to time.

The same holds true for tall parents. While it’s likely that they will have tall children, they may pass along latent genes that lead to short kids on occasion. There are also certain conditions that can lead to shorter than expected or taller than expected children, like idiopathic short stature (ISS) — a condition for children who are unusually short for no known reason.

 

5 Other Factors That Affect a Child’s Height

The height of birth parents is the No. 1 predictor of how tall children will grow to be. But it’s certainly not the only factor. Here’s a look at 5 other things that can influence how tall your child ultimately grows to be:

  1. Medications: Some medications (like corticosteroids) are known to slow the growth of children.
  2. Hormones: Low growth hormone or thyroid levels can slow a child’s height.
  3. Genetics: A number of genetic conditions (like Noonan Syndrome, Down Syndrome and Turner Syndrome) can lead to a child growing taller or shorter than would otherwise be expected.
  4. Health: Health conditions like untreated celiac disease, bad arthritis and even some cancers can stunt a child’s growth.
  5. Nutrition: A healthy diet is essential to a child growing to his or her projected height. For example, underweight children may not grow as tall as they would at an optimal weight.

 

Final Thoughts on How Tall a Child Will Be

Are you interested in the ultimate shortcut? Find a how-tall-will-my-child-be calculator like this one from the Baby Center. It’s not entirely accurate either, but you can add it as a data point as you use multiple methods for predicting your child’s future height.

Don’t like the numbers these approaches, formulas and calculators spit out? You can’t sweat it. Children develop along different timelines. They hit growth spurts, and they go through periods when you think they’ll never grow again. It’s not worth stressing over.

Your child should have regular checkups scheduled with a pediatrician, who will be tracking their height and weight. If your child’s height (or lack thereof) is cause for concern, your pediatrician will bring it up.

Have anything to add to this discussion of children and their future heights? If so, let us know in the comments section below, or you can send a secure message through our contact form.

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