During a child’s well visit, the pediatrician will conduct a full physical exam, which includes reviewing your child’s weight and height, as well as body mass index, to determine if your child’s growth-rate, including any weight gain, is on track. Blood pressure, heart rate and breathing will also be checked and necessary immunizations and vaccinations will be administered.
During the well visit, your child’s doctor will ask questions. But a pediatrician is also able to address any concerns you may have, answer your questions or offer advice. Find out how to make the most of your child’s next well visit with these seven tips.
1. Plan to Be There
When you work outside of the home, it can be easy to ask your child’s grandparent or babysitter if they wouldn’t mind taking your child to his appointment — but that’s not usually the best plan. Your child will likely feel much more comfortable if you attend the appointment with him. Plus, there may be questions or issues that arise during the well check that someone else cannot effectively handle. And, last but not least, by attending the appointment, you’ll have firsthand information about your child’s health — instead of relying on your child’s grandparent or babysitter to give you all of the details.
2. Write Down Your Questions
Before you go to your child’s well visit appointment, take some time to sit down and think about any issues of concern you may have about your child’s health and development. If you write down your questions now and take the list with you to the doctor, there’s less of a chance that you’ll forget to ask.
Don’t be afraid to write down things you don’t think your doctor can help you with — such as emotional issues your child may be having. Your child’s pediatrician can not only serve as a resource for you but also as a referral to another health professional who is better suited to address your child’s particular need.
3. Be Aware of What Questions Might be Asked of You
If your child is younger, the pediatrician will definitely ask questions regarding his development. To help this part of the well visit go smoothly, you should research these questions in advance and consider your answers. By knowing what your doctor might ask in terms of development, you’ll be able to find out from your child what he can and can’t do — if you don’t already know.
For example, when children are 18-months-old, developmental milestones include being able to do things, such as stack three blocks, follow directions using “on” or “under” and be able to point to at least three body parts on command.
4. Prepare Your Child in Advance
Unless your child sees his pediatrician frequently, you might want to spend a little time preparing your child for the upcoming well visit. This is especially important if you have a younger child who might be scared about going to the doctor.
There are storybooks you can check out from your public library that can help ease your child’s fears. You can also help your child by planning a small activity after the appointment, such as going for ice cream or stopping by the playground. Having something to look forward to could make the whole experience less stressful for both you and your child.
5. Arrive on Time
Just as with any appointment, it’s important to be punctual. Doctor’s offices operate on schedules, and if you are late, you will potentially lose out on part of your appointment time. This could reduce the amount of time that you will have to ask questions.
Leave for the appointment early. Even if you choose to sit in the parking lot for a few minutes before going in, you’ll still be there and not stuck in traffic.
6. Avoid Potential Distractions
If you can, leave other children with a relative or babysitter while you are at the well-check appointment with your child. Other children will inevitably be vying for your attention appointment, and your focus should be on the child that’s having the well check and the pediatrician. Because these type of appointments occur typically only once per year, you might not have an opportunity to consult with your child’s doctor again until your child needs to be seen again.
If you happen to be seeing a new doctor for the first time, make an appointment for the well check instead of hoping for a walk-in appointment. This will allow the doctor’s office to prepare for your visit. According to Pediatriccenter.com, “Forms can be completed, insurance coverage can be verified, and the visit will go more smoothly.”