Short Stature in Children: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Your child's doctor has probably been tracking your child's height since birth. Those measurements are compared against a standard growth chart. Growth charts show if your child is shorter or taller than average. Many parents worry when their children fall on the low end of the chart. Be assured, though, that most children who are shorter than average are perfectly healthy. They may have inherited "short" genes, or they may be "late bloomers" who will grow later than other children. Most children who are shorter than average do not need treatment, because they eventually reach a normal height on their own.

In rare cases, a child has a medical problem that affects growth. If your doctor thinks your child may have a medical problem, he or she will order tests.

Sometimes, children are teased about being short. Your child may need extra help to build healthy self-esteem. Having healthy self-esteem will help your child deal with his or her feelings. Assure your child that being a good person and a good friend are the keys to finding and keeping friends. Also, make sure your child knows that shortness (or even tallness) has nothing to do with having friendships.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Help your child learn how to make and keep friends.
  • Find your child's strengths, and work to build on them.
  • Encourage your child to talk about concerns and problems making friends.
  • Teach your child how to introduce himself or herself, start conversations, and politely join in play.
  • Show your child how to have healthy friendships by being a good friend to others.
  • Encourage your child to try new things. For example, many children who are short are afraid to play sports, but there are many sports that your child may enjoy.
  • Assure your child that you accept him or her, even when others may not. A child's self-esteem wavers, sometimes from moment to moment. Help your child understand that life has ups and downs.
  • Be positive. Children usually value an adult's interest and praise.
  • Treat your child with respect. Ask his or her views, consider them, and give meaningful feedback. A child's self-esteem grows when he or she is respected.
  • Encourage communication. Ask open-ended questions, and make statements such as, "Tell me more about the math test" or "It sounds like it was a busy day." Listen to what your child says.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • Your child expresses a lack of self-worth.
  • Your child shows a lack of interest in usual activities, withdraws, and seems sad.
  • Your child avoids school or activities.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Current as of: July 26, 2016