Health and Nutrition Information for Preschoolers

Growth During the Preschool Years

Is my child growing the way he or she should be?

There is a wide range of "normal" growth. Between the ages of 2 and 5, the average child grows about 2½ inches taller each year, and also gains 4 to 5 pounds each year.

Boy StretchingGrowth charts are a good way to monitor your child's growth and health.

You and your preschooler's doctor are partners in maintaining your child's health. Your preschooler's growth over time is an important sign of good health and nutrition.

Visit your doctor regularly. As part of the visit, the doctor will weigh and measure your child. He or she can then plot your child's information on a growth chart. Over time, the curve of the growth chart will show your child's growth pattern and whether height and weight growth are increasing at the same rate. Your doctor will monitor the growth chart to be sure your child continues to follow the same "curve" over time and the growth pattern does not unexpectedly change.       

See where your child compares to others of the same age & sex on a growth chart

What Influences Growth?

Doctor Measuring ChildGrowth is one of the best indicators of good health and nutrition in children. Heights and weights differ depending on:

  • Family History - Tall parents tend to have tall children. Short parents tend to have short children.
  • Sex - Preschool boys tend to be taller than preschool girls. Boys and girls tend to have similar weights until puberty.
  • Nutrition - Healthy food choices are necessary for your child's growth.
  • Sleep - Preschoolers need 11-14 hours of sleep a day, including naps and nighttime sleep.
  • Health status - Chronic illness or other special needs in children can also affect growth.  Children who are sick often or have special needs should be closely monitored by their doctor.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website provides more information about growth charts.