It’s 9:30 pm (2 hours past bedtime) and I have been in my 3 year old’s room probably 10 times now.
She just won’t settle down…she wants to talk…about today…about yesterday…about what we are doing tomorrow. What in Heaven’s name is wrong with her?! I want to scream!! For the past 3 or 4 nights, she’s been struggling to go to sleep, waking in the middle of the night, and getting up WAY too early for the hours she’s keeping.
Finally, on my 11th trip into her room, she is crying…and the truth comes out.
Her legs hurt…
Ugh, growing pains at their finest hour rearing their ugly head.
I want to say “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” But I’ve learned that this pain is often mild in the beginning, more of slightly nagging feeling. But as the evening progresses, growing pains always seem to get worse…whether it’s because the pain actually is amplified or the combination of a sleepy, cranky child with that annoying pain just reaches the breaking point.
Over the years and 2 daughters in, I’ve learned quite a few tricks to stop growing pains in their tracks. And a recent post on Facebook from an old high school friend begging for help with her daughter’s growing pains, let me know this might be worth sharing those tricks!
According to the Mayo Clinic, there is no evidence that growing is actually painful. Actually, muscle pain at night from overuse during the day is thought to be the most likely cause of growing pains. Overuse from activities such as running, climbing and jumping can be hard on a child’s musculoskeletal system.
Whatever the cause, these 5 tips are sure to help ease your little one’s suffering.
1. Use An NSAID – such as Children’s Ibuprofen. I have no shame in giving a dose of this to my girls when they start complaining about their legs hurting. It usually is sufficient to help them ease off and get a good night’s rest.
2. A Warm Compress – You can use a heating pad but I’ll be honest…my go-to is one of my husband’s socks filled with rice. We keep it in our medicine cabinet and when we need it, pop it in the microwave for 50-60 seconds. The shape is very malleable so it is perfect for tiny legs.
3. A Foam Roller – I know this sounds ridiculous and honestly, I only tried it one night as a fluke. My younger daughter was so uncomfortable and the ibuprofen had not yet kicked in. So I grabbed my exercise foam roller and gently rolled her legs. Put her right to sleep!
4. Drink OJ or Eat Bananas – Sometimes it seems that my daughter’s leg pains can be at least partially attributed to cramps. Orange juice and bananas are great sources of potassium to nip that in the bud.
5. Epsom Salt Baths – The theory is that the magnesium in the epsom salt baths soak into the skin…but whatever it is, they definitely help!
Hopefully these simple tricks can help your child during this relatively short lived, but annoying, part of growing up!
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