How Tall Will Your Kids Be?

A dad with his sons feeding a giraffe, London, 1950s

Growing up, Alex was obsessed with the Golden State Warriors basketball team, so he always hoped he would be closer to 6’8″ than 5’8″. But that didn’t happen. Now he’s pinning his height dreams on Anton and Toby. He even jokes that he married me for the height, since my brother is 6’3″ and my dad is 6’1″. Well, this week, I stumbled across a formula for predicting how tall your kids will be…

Some doctors use a formula for loosely predicting kids’ heights, says the New York Times:

For boys, combine the height of both parents, add five inches and divide by two.

For girls, combine the height of the parents, subtract five inches and divide by two.

Obviously, it’s not a perfect system — the final height can vary depending on the child, genes, nutrition and a bunch of other factors. But fun to guess at least, right?

Five-year-old Toby is an average height for his age, but he’s getting long and lanky. Two-year-old Anton is shorter and stockier for his age (I love those toddler bellies). Interestingly, studies show that younger siblings tend to be shorter.

How tall might your kids be? Does this work for you? When I add my parents’ heights and do the formula with my parents’ heights, I get my height exactly (5’6″).

(Photo of circus entertainer Paul Remos and his sons feeding a giraffe at the London Zoo, 1950s)

  1. Jordyn says...

    I did the formula and got 8’4, that is pretty unlikely considering my dad is 6’1 and my mom is 5’8. I’m male and would hope I’m at least 6’3

  2. Such an interesting post! I love your blog!

  3. Annabelle says...

    This pegged my height exactly! But my partner is 6’6″ and significantly taller than both parents – 6″ taller than his dad and more than a foot taller than his mom.

    However the younger siblings thing works for so many of my friends and I had never heard it before. How cool!

  4. Samantha says...

    According to this formula I should’ve been 5’5”, but I’m 5’0”! Shorter than both my mom and dad, but oh well .

  5. Julie says...

    I don’t think this formula is the best one! The “double at age 2” has worked with my brother and I. I’m 6″0, which is a few inches taller than my mom, and only an inch less than my dad, which is pretty tall for a girl. That formula wouldn’t have worked but the “double at age 2” worked :) I was 3″0 at that age.

  6. By those calculations I should have been 5’05” but am 5’2″ and my sister is 5’4″. My brother should have been about 5’10” but is 6’0″. My husband is 6’3″ so I am definitely curious what the heights of our future children will be and am really hoping I don’t have 10 lb babies!

  7. b says...

    For my son, doubling his height at 2 = 5’8.5″. This formula = 6’2.5″.
    I think it’s pretty likely he’ll be somewhere in that range ;)
    I’m 5’10” and my husband is 6’2″. I’m guessing this formula will be more accurate, but who knows? According to this formula I should have been 5’5″ and my husband should have been 5’11”.

  8. Rachel says...

    Joanna, I am shocked you are “only” 5’6″! I thought you were at least 5’10”!

  9. This didn’t work for me. I’m the shorty in my family (5’3) and my hubby (6’1). Our young adult kids are tall. Our son is (6’1) and two daughters (5’6+).

    It happened in a blink too! ;)

  10. Lisa says...

    My husband and I tried this out, to see if it worked for us. For me, it was very close. Completely off for him – he average height parents but is 6″4′. Something must have happened to make him super tall …
    On the younger children being shorter – on my mom’s side of the family it’s the complete opposite. For the last few generations, the second child is much taller than the first – my grandfather was nearly a foot taller than his older brother. I reckon it’s because the parents only figure out how to feed the child properly by the second one

  11. laureg says...

    I dunno- my parents are 5’4″ (mom) and 5″11 (dad). My brother should have been 5’10” according to this and is 6’1″, I should have been 5’5″ and am 5’8″. My sister (who is so mad she didn’t inherit the height genes from dad’s side) is 5’2″. Also, as kids, we were all really tiny for our ages and didn’t really grow into our full height until our really late teens.