How to Predict the Height of Your Child

When a child is born, family members compare his or her eye color and other physical attributes to those of the parents. These comparisons often lead to speculation as to how tall the child will be as an adult.

Growth Charts

Your child’s pediatrician will also take a keen interest in your child’s height. During each well-child visit, the pediatrician will check your child’s weight and measure their height and head size. These measurements will be plotted on a standardized growth chart to determine whether your child is developing as expected. The resulting graph will aid the doctor in determining if your child’s early growth is within the normal range for its gender and age.

Genetics and Family History

It is impossible to precisely predict what a child’s height will be as an adult. A variety of genetic factors comes into play. Height and growth patterns typically run in families. The genetic makeup of the parents is the biggest factor that determines how tall a child will grow. Your height and the height of your partner are key indicators in determining your child’s height. Children grow at different rates. While some children have early growth spurts, others experience surges later. This needs to be taken into consideration when using one or more of the formulas that provide reasonable estimations of a child’s future height.

Other Factors Determining Height

While genes play a significant role in determining how tall your child will be, other factors are also involved. A lack of proper nutrition can stunt a child’s growth. Hormone imbalances or low growth hormone levels can result in children being taller or shorter than expected. Prolonged use of some medications like corticosteroids can slow growth as well. An injury or chronic illnesses can also influence a child’s growth.

Child Height Calculation

Several popular formulas provide a reasonable estimation for a child’s expected height as an adult. One formula doubles a boy’s height at age 2 and a girl’s height when she is 18 months old. If you do not have these measurements, you can try another commonly used formula. Add the father’s and mother’s heights together in either inches or centimeters. For boys, add 5 inches or 13 centimeters to that total before dividing by two. For girls, subtract 5 inches or 13 centimeters from the total before dividing by two. Most children will be within 4 inches or 10 centimeters of this estimate when they reach adulthood.

Cite this page: N., Pam M.S., "How to Predict the Height of Your Child," in PsychologyDictionary.org, February 18, 2016, https://psychologydictionary.org/article/how-to-predict-the-height-of-your-child/ (accessed June 24, 2019).
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