Factors Affecting Physical Growth in Children

All praise be to Allah.

The growth of body is affected
by both physical and psychological atmosphere.

Physical growth is affected by the psychological and social atmosphere in which youngsters live with their families and also by nervous tension, as well as emotions and anxieties.

The physical growth of a child may be affected by some diseases and ailments that have neural origins but have the tendency to affect the biological and physiological functions of the body and hinder physical growth. Researchers have proved that anxiety and depression is detrimental to general health of individuals and to various functioning of body. If anxiety and fear persist, leading to system disorder for a long period of time, then they will slow down the process of physical growth.

Regarding the mental issues, the broader the mental faculties of the individual the more he grows, understands and adopt the healthy lifestyle. He develops healthy living habits and abandons the bad ones. In other words, he develops his sound health awareness in such a way that he maintains the health of his body, caring for it, protecting and treating it in case of ailments. This guarantees him better growth and integration of the bodily functions.

The effect of physical growth on other aspects is certain:

There is no doubt that health, strength, good growth and physical fitness contribute directly or indirectly to the mental development of an individual, to the integrity of his personality and his success in life. It is because the source of happiness lies in the integrity of mind and body. A weak body cannot help an intelligent mind and in similar manner a weak mind does not help the strong body. An individual who suffers from diseases, feebleness and a weak body cannot benefit from his intelligence and mental abilities because he is disabled by his sickness and ailments.

In the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) we find the emphasis on sound body and sound mind. He (peace be upon him) had laid stress on taking care of one’s body and health. It assigns rights towards the body, on the grounds of the importance of health, the comfort of the body and its good growth, in the life of man, his happiness and ability to undertake his duties as well as obligations related to the world and the Hereafter.

The Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) realizes that mental, psychological and social growth is linked to physical growth. Therefore, due care must be paid to the body.

It was narrated on the authority of ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Amr ibn Al-‘Aas, may Allah be pleased with him, that he quoted the Messenger of Allah as saying: “‘O Abdullah. Is it true that you fast during the day and pray during the night as I have been informed?’ ‘Abdullah said, ‘Yes, Messenger of Allah.’ He said: ‘Do not do that. Fast and breakfast, pray at night and sleep, because your body has a right over you, your eyes have a right over you and your spouse has a right over you.’” [Al-Bukhari]

Following is a plan to raise your child mentally and physically strong.

1. Developing the sound nutritional awareness. Encourage them to eat healthy and differentiate between the good food and the bad food.

2. Encourage them to pay attention to personal hygiene and cleanliness. The more hygienic they are the better. Teach them the methods to purify themselves and the Sunnah ways of keeping oneself clean.

3. Invite them to take care of the physical fitness. Tell them why it is important and make them make efforts to keep themselves fit.

4. Just like you tell your child to work and exercise tell them to rest and relax when they are exhausted.

5. Guide them to better means of recreation. Achieving something in life does not mean that they have to work continuously, rather they must be allowed to enjoy too, owing to their mental health. The children must be taught to enjoy the beneficial recreational activities. They must be taught what is acceptable and permissible and what not.

6. Encourage them to understand what their body is trying to speak. Tell them that at certain times it is important to have a medical treatment. However, teach them to be careful about the methods of sound medical treatment.

7. Stressing the act of investing the strength, capabilities and energies of the body in a fruitful manner.

May Allah keep our children happy and healthy

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