Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Madyson. Madyson Wonders, “Why do we have growing pains?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Madyson!

“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!

Wonder What's Next?

Sail on over to Wonderopolis tomorrow and we’ll give you the strait story!