Well child visits are doctor’s appointments in which your child’s pediatrician will examine your child’s health, take note of their growth, and administer any necessary vaccinations to your child. These preventative care visits are essential to ensuring your child has the best chance possible to reach their full potential. Should your child’s doctor flag a certain issue, such as a hearing or weight problem, then parents have the opportunity to handle the issue before it reaches a critical point. For more information on child development, find a local pediatrician you trust. Google ‘pediatrician’ + ‘your hometown’, i.e. ‘Pediatrician New Braunfels, PA’. If you are new to preventative care visits, here are a few things you can expect to see during your child’s visit:
Infant Well Child Visit
When your child is still very young, they will likely need to see the doctor more often than an older child. During these appointments, your pediatrician will look to make sure your infant is reaching important developmental milestones, such as checking to see if your child is able to turn her head from one side to the other by three months, or is attempting to roll from side to side and even playing with toys while lying on her side by six months.
In addition to developmental milestones, the doctor will assess your child’s weight, length, and head circumference to determine if your baby is growing normally while also examining their head, ears, eyes and mouth to ensure normal growth.
Toddler Well Child Visit
Once your child reaches toddler age, your doctor will want to check your child’s vision and hearing through a series of tests and examinations, they will also ask parents questions to get a sense of your child’s mental, emotional and social development. The questions pediatricians will ask range from inquiring about your child’s behavioral patterns, your home life and routine, their language ability, and how well they interact and play with other children their own age.
By the time your child is school-aged, they should be much more independent and able to start developing their reading skills and problem solving techniques. Again, your pediatrician will ask you (and your child, by this age) about their daily routines, how much physical activity they get in a given day or week, sleeping habits, and finally, their motor and language development. School-aged kids will still depend on their parents for most of their needs but should be willing to spend more and more time with friends away from home or at school. If your child is interested in pursuing sports, this is a great time for them to be cleared for participating by their pediatrician. Many schools and youth sports leagues require a doctor’s physical examination before kids can participate. Make sure your child is emotionally and physically developmentally ready to participate.
As your child reaches puberty, their wellness visits will center around addressing the many changes they may go through. These visits should be assessed by a doctor with whom your child is comfortable. During the physical exam portion of the visit, your provider will look for indications of alcohol, tobacco or drug use, depression, and discuss your teenager’s sexual health, in addition to the routine physical examination of their health and daily routines.
Make sure your teen’s doctor has a candid conversation with your teen about the realities of sexual activity and the risk of unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and HIV, as well as ask questions about sexual identity or orientation. Your teen’s doctor should talk to your son or daughter about safe sex practices and contraception. If you have a teenage daughter, they might want to discuss different contraceptive options, between IUDs, birth control pills, or implants. Girls may need to be taught how to perform their own monthly breast exams and your provider may recommend a gynecologic exam, if your teen is already sexually active.
All in all, preventative care is the best way to ensure your child gets the right help they need to grow into healthy, happy adults. Give your pediatrician a call to schedule your child’s next appointment today.