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Toddler Talk: Growing Pains

When I was little, I remember waking up with really bad leg pain and cramps. I would cry until they would go away, but I was still left with achey legs. It was miserable. As I got older, it got better. Until I played soccer and was a majorette. Running and marching made that pain come back with a vengeance. I used to say I wouldn’t even wish it on my enemy- I was bit dramatic in those days. Now, unfortunately, I have to watch my tough little tots go through the aches and pains too.

Not everyone experiences growth spurts with symptoms other than a slight increase in hunger. My brother told me he never had any leg pains growing up. Whether he is trying to seem like a tough guy or not, those legs pains can happens with growth spurts, and my toddlers have been going through it the last few weeks. I’m not a doctor by any means, but this is something our family experiences.

When I was a new mom, I was mortified when my son woke up crying and kicking. I didn’t know what was wrong until I felt his legs. They were so tight, and I instantly knew. I brought it up with his doctor, and found out it’s common but not every little one is impacted by growth spurts. Now that I have two kiddos, I can see some differences.

Growth Spurt Symptoms

  • Leg and muscle pain
  • Restlessness at night from aches and pains
  • Larger appetite than normal
  • Longer sleeping periods and tired throughout the day
  • Clothes and shoes fitting tighter

These are some of the signs my doctor told me to look for, but he said every little one is different and could experience growth spurts without noticeable signs. My kids are not that lucky.

My son turned 3 in June, and every few months, he asks me to rub his legs. Then, I notice him being a little more sleepy during the day, and he doesn’t play as hard as he usually does. He will also ask for a second sandwich at lunch and will continually want snacks.

My daughter will be 2 in February, and she gets restless legs and wakes up crying when she’s having growing pains. She climbs into our bed and slings her legs over me so I can rub them. Her appetite change is harder to notice than my sons. My daughter is a big eater, whereas my son is pickier. When she’s achey and tired from being up with leg cramps, she doesn’t eat as much as usual. So, bigger appetite depends on the kid I guess.

There will always be different ways to go about dealing with growth spurts, because everyone is different and handles changes to their body differently. Some kids might not be as impacted, and it goes unnoticed until their pants won’t button and their shoes are too smalls. We have a strategy that seems to work for our house when the kids are feeling the effects of body changes. We usually plan a few things to do together to keep the kiddos content.

Growing Time

  • Stock up on fruits and healthy snacks for when the tots want to munch.
  • Make cookies or brownies together, so there’s a sweet treat.
  • Keep the nighttime lavender lotion close by for leg rubs.
  • Pick a movie or show and cuddle up since they ache and don’t always want to play.
  • Take a warm bath before bed to ease any aches.

If the kids want to go out and do stuff but are feeling achey, we take a mountain ride. It gives the kids time to relax but still be out and about. The mountain we ride through has a park nestled in it, so we always have that option too.

If we notice our tots feeling rough from their ever growing bodies, we try to make the situation fun but still relaxing. We want to make it as positive as we can. We are a bit extra at times, but it keeps the littles happy and we enjoy it!


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