Growth. It comes in many forms. Physical, emotional, intellectual. For kids, it’s all about being able to reach the bathroom faucet, ride the big rollercoaster at the amusement park or just sit in the front seat of the car. Some children grow early while others don’t experience bodily and developmental changes until later in their little lives. The important thing for a child and his or her parent to understand is that, like life, growth is not about the destination but rather the journey. And, since you don’t want to miss even one mile marker along the way, there are lots of different methods you can use to track the trip.
Hang a Wall Chart
There’s a reason this old stand-by is so popular. Most children think of their growth primarily in verticality so they appreciate using a chart that enables them to measure and record their distance from the floor. But be sure to hang it somewhere where it can stay, because you’ll likely be measuring your little people for well over a decade!
Catch up to a celebrity
My son chose the tallest person he knew, National Basketball Association’s Yao Ming, and we put a life-sized poster of him on the wall of his bedroom. Over the years, he enjoyed determining, “Hey, Mom! I’m up to his waist!” or “Wow! I’m up to his elbows now!”
Save a little money together
Kids can be pretty expensive so why not put aside a little green for their futures while also measuring their growth? This method can be accomplished in many different ways but one of the most visually rewarding is simply stuffing a jar with quarters, silver dollars, $10 bills, etc. for every inch of height he grows. Then, at age 18, give him the money for prom, college or even just a nice outing for the two of you. He’ll love seeing the amount grow along with him over the years.
Plant a progressive garden
Recognizing the passing years of a child’s life can be just as important as measuring her inches. Plant a flower or vegetable garden on her first birthday. Then each year add one new item to the mix. She will not only be able to see the individual plants grow year after year, she’ll also be able to see the entire project develop as a whole … just like she does. And when she’s old enough, be sure to include her in the garden’s maintenance. It’s a great project for a parent and child to share with each other.
However you chart the journey, just remember that everyone reaches the destination differently. Some drive through the night to get there first while others prefer to take the scenic route and make a few stops along the way. The important thing is that you celebrate every mile marker together. And don’t forget to make predictions or “growth guesses” for the following year with a little prize for whoever comes the closest!ν
by Michele Robert Poche