Yes, Toddlers Have Growth Spurts. Here’s when they happen

The toddler stage is full of new challenges and exciting developmental milestones. It’s one of the stages in your child’s life where you’ll notice a lot of rapid changes, and you might wonder if your child is growing at a normal pace.

One of the changes you’ll notice is physical growth as your toddler gets taller and gains weight. Here is what you need to know about toddlers and growth spurts.

Mother measuring daughter's height against a wall
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When do growth spurts happen?

Your toddler’s growth spurt will happen anytime between the ages of 2 and 4. Some children grow at a steady pace throughout their toddler stage, while others can gain a couple of inches over the course of a few months.

The same is true of weight gain. You might see your child gain a few pounds over a short period before their physical development slows down for a while.

Every child is different when it comes to growth. On average, toddlers will gain 2 to 3 inches a year. It can happen gradually or in shorter growth spurts.

Genetics can play a role in how quickly your child grows. Don’t worry if it looks like your toddler is growing at a slower pace. They will probably catch up to their peers later.

How much do toddlers grow?

The toddler years are one of the stages where your child will go through significant changes. While babies grow and gain weight at a rapid pace, growth can slow down during the second year of their lives compared to their first few months.

Between your child’s first and second birthday, it’s common to see an average growth of 5 inches and 5 pounds. You will notice that your child’s head grows in size. It should reach 90% of their adult head size by the time they turn 2. It’s common to experience growth spurts during the second year.

From 2 to 3, your child should gain around 4 pounds and grow by 2 to 3 inches. They’ll become more active and comfortable with walking and running.

Your toddler’s silhouette will change a lot during their third year. They will get longer legs, lose their round tummy, and you’ll notice structural changes in their face. Your child will no longer look like a baby by the time they turn 3.

Between the ages of 3 and 4, your child will gain anywhere from 4 to 6 pounds and should grow by 2 to 3 inches.

Remember that growth can happen at a steady pace or in shorter spurts. You might notice short growth stages where your child gains 3 inches and puts on weight over the course of a few months before growth slows down for a while.

Your toddler’s growth is normal as long as they gain an average of 2 to 3 inches and 4 to 5 pounds a year. Your pediatrician can help you determine if your child is growing at a normal pace.

Common signs your toddler is about to experience a growth spurt

The following signs can indicate that your toddler is about to go through a growth spurt:

  • Increased appetite. As your toddler’s body grows, so will their calorie intake. Seeing your child’s appetite increase is normal because toddlers tend to be very active, but it can also signify that your toddler is going through a growth spurt.
  • Cravings. It’s not uncommon for toddlers to have a favorite food. However, growth spurts can cause cravings for the foods that contain the vitamins and minerals your child needs.
  • Growing pains. Children often experience dull aches and soreness when they grow. Your toddler might be grumpy, tired, or fussy because their limbs feel sore due to growing pains.
  • Sleepiness. Growing up can be exhausting! You might notice that your toddler is more tired than usual. Make sure they get the sleep they need, since their body releases the growth hormone while they sleep.
  • Outgrowing clothes and shoes. A common sign that your toddler is going through one of their growth stages is that their clothes don’t fit anymore. Toddlers can outgrow pants at a fast pace as their legs get longer.
  • Clumsiness. All toddlers can be clumsy, but limbs growing rapidly creates an additional coordination challenge.
  • Mood shifts. Going through physical changes can make your toddler feel tired and grumpy. Changes in hormonal levels can also affect their mood.
  • New skills. Brain development is one of the many aspects of the growth spurts toddlers go through. You will see your kid make progress in areas like language and motor skills at a dizzying pace.

Toddler standing against a growth chart on wall

Final thoughts

Every child is different and can grow at a different pace. While some children go through growth spurts, others grow at a steadier pace. We recommend using a chart to plot your child’s growth and meeting with your pediatrician regularly to track your child’s height and weight gain, along with developmental milestones.

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