Taking your child to the doctor shouldn’t be reserved only for sick-visits. A regularly scheduled well-child exam is an essential component to fostering good physical, as well as developmental, health. Go in prepared, and ask the right questions.
Your pediatrician knows medicine, but no one knows your child better than you. That’s why—in addition to getting your child vaccinated and measuring growth—a well-exam is the perfect time to discuss developmental and behavioral issues, as well as any other concern you might have. These concerns can range from proper toilet training and good sleep habits, to how your little angel treats other kids in his class.
But does it seem like your doctor visit flies by without you covering everything on your mind? A little bit of preparation can give you peace of mind and pave the way to a mutually beneficial relationship between pediatrician, parent, and child.
A pre-visit checklist:
- Gather your thoughts. Keep some notepaper handy (like in the kitchen) so you can jot down concerns as they occur to you. Compile these notes into a few simple written questions and bring them with you. And remember, there is NO such thing as a silly question!
- Talk to your child’s other caregivers. A grandparent or sitter may see different behavior when you’re not around. The more complete your information is, the better care your pediatrician can provide.
- Be honest and don’t leave out the details. It’s tempting to be less than forthcoming about the amount of soda your child drinks, and it might feel a little awkward to talk about poop, but believe me, your pediatrician has heard it all before.
- Ask if your office provides a pre-exam questionnaire. At the time you make the appointment, ask if they can send this to you electronically so you can take the time to complete it thoughtfully, without being distracted in the waiting room.
- Do you have concerns you’d rather not discuss in front of your child? If so, let the office know when you make the appointment. Ask if a staff member can watch your child while you have a few private minutes with your doctor.
- If you’ve done some background research online, bring printouts with you. Your doctor can help you sort the good information from the bad.
Finally, the most important thing to remember is that a team approach, where you take an active role alongside your pediatrician, can achieve the optimum physical, emotional, and developmental health for your child.