“When you grow up.” “When you get bigger.” “When you’re older.”

So many of the things that kids are excited to do are met with answers like those. It’s no wonder kids can’t wait to grow up!

Of course, many parents don’t want to see their kids get older and grow up. It’s not that they want to deny them opportunities. They just don’t want to see their children grow up too soon.

As all kids know, though, growing up and getting older are inevitable. Things that were once forbidden or out of reach become accessible.

Kids are usually eager to grow up. But getting older and bigger sometimes has a down side, such as greater responsibilities. It can also be painful.

Many children experience something doctors call “growing pains.” They seem to happen most often to children between the ages of 3 to 5 and 8 to 12.

Doctors don’t think growing causes these pains. They’re definitely related to growing, though, since they seem to stop once kids stop growing.

Since they’re called pains, it seems safe to assume that they hurt. And they do! If you’ve ever experienced them firsthand, you know how painful growing pains can be.

Kids usually feel growing pains in their legs. They seem to occur most often in the front part of the thighs, in the calves and behind the knees. When kids get growing pains, both legs usually hurt.

Kids may notice that their legs start to ache just before bedtime, or they may wake up in the middle of the night because of the pains. Luckily, they’re usually gone by morning.

Doctors believe growing pains mainly affect the muscles. In fact, they believe they may be caused by muscle fatigue.

As kids begin to grow, their muscles have to work harder to keep up with the rest of the body as it grows. As muscles struggle to adapt, they get tired and may ache at night.

If you experience growing pains, here are a few things you can do to make them feel better:

  • Ask your parents to give you an over-the-counter pain reliever, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • Use a heating pad on the areas where your legs hurt.
  • Stretch your legs to loosen and relax the muscles.
  • Massage your legs where they hurt.

Of course, not all kids will get growing pains. All children are unique. Everybody grows at their own rate.

You may experience a growth spurt long before others your same age. Or it may seem like everyone around you is growing, while you stay the same size.

The best thing you can do is stop worrying and let nature take its time. There’s no such thing as “normal” when it comes to kids growing.

Your body will do its own thing in its own time. Worrying about it never did anyone any good… and it certainly won’t make you grow faster!


50 Join the Discussion

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  (10 votes, avg. 4.10 out of 5)
  1. Growing pains hurt when we ride our bikes and when we are doing other activities. Our legs get tired easily. When we come home from school, not only are we tired, but so are our muscles. Maybe from learning this information, we can think that it is from our growing! We think that when we go outside with our friends, maybe after a while, we should rest our legs so they won’t hurt our body. Then we could go back out to play. We think this is a good idea.

    • Thanks for sharing your good idea with everyone in Wonderopolis today, Jarvis Second Grade! We can tell you learned a lot about growing pains by exploring today’s Wonder, and we’re so happy that you shared what you learned! We hope you have a WONDERful day! :-)

    • Hi, Em! We thought the video for today’s Wonder was super cute, too! Thank you for hanging out in Wonderopolis today! :-)

  2. Once, I had a growing pain in my calf and it lasted all day and night. It hurt so bad, I was about to scream at 1:30 in the morning!

    • Ouch! That doesn’t sound like it was very much fun, Kadoodle! Growing pains are something that almost every Wonder Friend has to encounter at some time in their young lives. Thank you for sharing your growing pain story with us today! :-)

  3. What a great wonder! :) We have had a few days off of school, so we are well-rested today (something that will help us if we are having growing pains). We made a lot of connections today. Some of us have experienced growing pains and said they were very painful.

    We learned today in our YMCA program that our bodies need water to grow and that we can get water from foods we eat, too. We think that drinking water should also be something we do to keep from getting growing pains but also what to do if you experience them. Did you know you can only service a couple of days without any water? Also, that there is water in fresh fruits and vegetables, another reason it is important to eat healthy! :)

    • We can always count on you guys for an AWESOME comment and for teaching US something new, too, Kerrick Elementary School! We’re glad you are sharing the cool things you are learning in your YMCA class with us…they add so much to each HAPPY HEALTHY HABITS Wonder! Thank you for being such WONDERful Wonder Friends! :_)

    • Thanks for your super kind words about Wonderopolis, Aaron! We appreciate hearing from our Wonder Friends and are glad you stopped by today! :-)

    • Thanks for visiting Wonderopolis, Quinn! We’re glad you left us this comment to say how much you enjoyed today’s Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  4. Way to go! I’ve always wanted to know more about growing pains, because my brother had a growing pain over night, and so did I. It does happen somewhere around night, like I had experienced. My brother’s pain was in his leg. It probably happened because you said they are normally 3 to 5, or 8 to 10, and my brother was about 4. I was still wondering, what happens when older kids, such as high schoolers, get growing pains? I liked this wonder, and looking forward to tomorrow’s!!!

    • Thanks for leaving us such a SUPER comment, Hayden! We appreciate how you made a personal connection to today’s Wonder of the Day®! We think because their bodies are still growing, some older kids must experience growing pains, too. We know of a few Wonder Friends who had really big growth spurts in their early teen years that caused some growing pains in their knees and hips. Growing pains stink, but it’s good to know that almost everyone has them at one time or another, so you and your brother aren’t the only ones! :-)

    • Thank you for letting us know you learned about growing pains from visiting today’s Wonder, Freyja! We are happy that you left us a comment, but we are sad that you are experiencing some growing pains. We hope you feel better soon! :-)

  5. The video was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • That’s a lot of exclamation points, John! Thank you for telling us what you thought about the video for today’s Wonder about growing pains! :-)

    • Hi there, Kate! We know it’s no fun to have growing pains. Thank you for visiting this Wonder and sharing your comment with us! :-)

  6. Cool! I have experienced growing pains, and they do hurt. One time, I woke up in the middle of the night because of growing pains (it hurt so bad I was crying!), and I was really sick the next day. I was sick because I had the stomach flu, so did my brother. I only had it for one day, he had it for longer.

    • Growing pains and the stomach flu all in one night sounds like no fun at all, Missy! We’re sorry you had to go through that! Thank you for sharing your story with us today, though, and for being a GREAT Wonder Friend! :-)

  7. Dear Wonderopolis,
    I have a connection. Sometimes at night, I get cramps in my legs and I am only 7 years old. My mom and dad rub my legs when I have them. I liked this wonder of the day.

    • Hi, Lilly! Thank you for letting us know about your personal connection to this Wonder! We’re sorry you have had some growing pains, but it sounds like your AWESOME parents are there to help you get through them when they’re hurting you and keeping you from getting a good night’s rest! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing your views about growing pains with your friends here in Wonderopolis, Paige! We really appreciate your positivity! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing your personal experience with growing pains, Julie! We agree they can be uncomfortable at times, but they are part of “growing” up for many Wonder Friends! Thanks so much for visiting this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  8. Today I had lots of growing pains! I got them:
    In my shoulders
    In my armpits (A little bit odd)
    In my chest and sides
    In my back
    In my waist and hips.
    It really hurt today but it’s relaxing down now!
    Have a WONDERful day Wonderopolis!

    • We think you must be doing a LOT of growing, Jordan! Thank you for sharing your personal connection to this Wonder of the Day®, and THANK YOU for being an AWESOME Wonder Friend! We hope you have the BEST rest of the week EVER! :-)

    • Hey there, Wonder Friend Secret! If you’re talking about the TV show “Growing Pains” we certainly agree! It’s a great show! We don’t really appreciate growing pains that happen in real life… sometimes they can be a bummer. We are so excited that you’re WONDERing with us today! :)

    • Hi there, Natalie, we’re glad you’re WONDERing about growing pains! Sometimes these growing pains occur in kids of all different ages– but there are many factors involved. When we have aches and pains, we like to tell an adult or parent about them. This way, if we are ever in pain and need to see a doctor, we have someone available to help us! However, you might be experiencing growing pains– so you could be growing an inch or two in the future! Thanks for sharing your comment today! :)

  9. Today I had my shoulders hurt and my legs since I got out of school which it was at 2:37. And right now is 12:30 night and they still hurt and I’m 14 years old … but your information was interesting thanks.

    • We hope that you’re feeling better soon, Jocob! Sometimes it helps to talk to an adult or parent about what hurts– it’s a good way to take care of those growing pains! :)

  10. I’m WONDERing about growing pains. I’ve had growing pains at least 5 times before. They wake me up at night and they are very PAINful.
    Another way to make growing pains better is to soak your legs in hot water. I liked your information. I didn’t know growing pains were most common in kids from ages 3 to 5 and 8 to 12. Thank you!

    • Hey Nathan! We are sorry to hear you’re experiencing growing pains, but we’re glad one of your remedies is helping. Soaking your lets in warm water is a good way to soothe the aches and pains– sometimes that’s what athletes do after a big game, too! We hope you’re doing well, Wonder Friend! :)

    • That doesn’t sound like fun, Grace! We’re sorry to hear that you had growing pains, but thanks for WONDERing with us! See you soon! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Do growing pains hurt?
  • What causes growing pains?
  • When will I get my growth spurt?

Wonder Gallery

baby in big shoes_shutterstock_1050951Vimeo Video

Try It Out

Ready to grow up? You may be ready to get older and bigger, but don’t be surprised if your parents don’t want you to grow up just yet.

If you want to keep your body healthy as you get older, you need to make sure that your happy healthy habits are keeping up with your growing body.

Here are some tips to keep in mind as you grow older and bigger:

  • Eat right! Eating a well-balanced diet is especially important when you’re a growing kid. Your body needs the proper nutrients to stay healthy and grow properly. As you get bigger, you may notice that your body needs more calories to fuel itself. Be sure to give your body good fuel in the form of even more fresh fruits and vegetables, while staying away from the empty calories in high-sugar foods and snacks.
  • Exercise! As your body gets bigger, you’ll notice that your muscles get bigger, too. As your muscles grow, they will need exercise to keep them in tip-top shape. Playing sports, riding your bike, walking, jogging and lifting weights are just a few of the ways you can keep your growing body moving.
  • Get your sleep! As you get older, your body tends to need less sleep than it did when you were younger. Until you’re an adult, though, your body still needs plenty of rest, especially while you’re growing. Don’t deny your body the rest it deserves. Get plenty of sleep, and you’ll feel ready to tackle each new day.
  • Don’t forget your regular checkups! Little kids aren’t the only ones who need regular checkups with the doctor. As you grow, it’s important to see your doctor regularly, so that you can be sure that you’re doing all the things you need to be doing to stay healthy.
  • Stop worrying! Everyone grows differently. Your body may be growing faster or slower than you like, but it knows what it’s doing. Don’t worry about it! You’ll grow when your body is ready. Treat it right, and it’ll all work out soon enough.


Still Wondering

Use Illuminations’ Growing Patterns lesson to learn how to use numbers to make growing patterns.


Wonder Categories/Tags


grow  growing  growth  pain 

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