A few days ago, I was woken up in the dead of night hearing my little guy crying out for mama because his legs were hurting. My mama brain did a furious calculation of all the things that could be happening to him while I stumbled to his room to find out he was perfectly fine... except his legs were hurting him.
My heart was breaking, and since my husband was out of town on work, I did something I never do, and pulled him into mamas room to sleep. After cuddling and rubbing his legs and singing some lullabies to try and calm him down, I realized DUH! my little man is going through growing pains.
Growing pains are really common in preschoolers and aren't necessarily linked to them going through growth spurts, but are more when they get achy, sore legs after a day where they've been super active or have been up and about all day. Every child will experience them differently, they can be mild irritation to super big pains, and are usually felt in their legs.
My husband and I both have really vivid memories of growing pains in our legs when we were little kids, and so it's not surprising that our sweet boy is having the same problem, but what on earth am I supposed to do if it happens again?
Here are some things I found out from doing my own research, and from asking other mamas who have littles that deal with them, and hopefully something on this list will help you!
This was the first thing that I decided to do when my little man crawled into bed with me with tears streaming down his face. I started to rub his legs with firm hands in downward strokes. This is something that can really help to alleviate the pain that is caused by achey muscles.
This is something that my SIL does a lot when my nephew has growing pains in his legs. She said that she'll put bandaids on his shins and his knees when he wakes up with ouchy legs, and that that helps him to feel like mama knows he's hurting and is trying to help him feel better. Acknowledging can also be snuggling and cuddling or singing songs to help them feel better.
Your child's pain may be too much for your mama love, rubs, and bandaids to help, so giving your child some tylenol or motrin can definitely help to cut back the pain. As long as you're giving them the correct dosage, giving them something for the pain is totally okay. You may want to check with your doctor first, especially if the pain seems to be persistent, but otherwise, don't be afraid to use something you know will help! You can also use the soothing or calming drops/tablets like melatonin or camomile that help to calm them down and fall back asleep.
This does a great job of helping their muscles to relax and will normally help them to fall asleep quicker, which is normally all they need. Growing pains are normally just annoying, and anyone who has dealt with restless leg syndrome (hello pregnancy) knows that it's less about the pain and more about the irritating aches. So the heating pad should help your little to get super cozy and comfortable, ease the aches, and help them sleep. Just make sure to turn it off once they fall asleep!
If your little is prone to getting growing pains that wake them up at night, you might want to consider doing some stretches with them right before tucking them in. Just doing some simple toe touches, flexing/pointing the toes, and some downward dog before bed can do wonders to help with growing pains. You can also make sure to add in a warm bath before bed, and maybe some lotion with camomile to really help their muscles calm down before bedtime.