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Are kids’ checkups worth it? What you need to know about well-child visits

By Elena Mauer

Parents often wonder, what’s the best way to keep kids healthy? This question is now more important than ever given the COVID-19 pandemic, and many doctors are now offering virtual and telehealth visits so your children can still get their well-care visits and you can have peace of mind your child has been checked. Regular checkups help children stay strong, and help you as a parent be informed and make good choices for your child.

“Well-child” visits are important because they can prevent illness. Vaccinations help children’s immune systems fight off infections like measles and the flu. That means fewer sick days for you too. After all, one sick day for your child often turns into two for you: once when you’re caring for them, and another when you get sick yourself.

Kids grow and change so quickly. The pediatrician will check your child’s height and weight to make sure their growth is on track. She’ll ask questions about your child’s development, such as how many words they can say. And she’ll note which milestones your child has hit and recommend extra help if they need it. Each age has different needs, so the doctor will have new information for you at every visit.

A well-child visit is also an opportunity for you to ask questions. Ask about your little one’s behavior, sleep routine, eating habits, learning challenges — anything goes. There are so many things that weigh on a parent’s mind; getting clear answers can be a great help.

Finally, you’ll get to know your child’s doctor. That way, your child will feel more comfortable visiting the office when they’re sick or injured. And the doctor will be able to compare your child’s vital signs to when they were well.

Follow this age-by-age schedule to well-child visits, vaccinations and keeping your growing child happy and healthy.

About the author

Elena Donovan Mauer is a writer and editor specializing in health, parenting, lifestyle and wellness topics. Her work has appeared in Parents, Parenting, The Bump, CafeMom, Real Simple and other publications. She lives in the Hudson Valley of New York with her husband and two sons.