Take your child to the doctor for regularly scheduled check-ups. It is especially important for younger children who need regular vaccinations to see a healthcare professional on an ongoing basis, and these visits will be more frequent when your child is young. Seeing the pediatrician regularly allows your child to develop a relationship with a key healthcare professional who can track your child’s development and help identify issues that may need further medical attention, such as sight problems.
List of questions
Compile a list of questions you would like to ask your doctor as they come up and take the list to your appointment. The doctor and you both have limited time and you want to make the most of it.
Don't promise there won't be shots
Never promise your child that “there won’t be any shots.” Vaccination recommendations change regularly and your child needs to be prepared for the possibility of shots.
Growth and development
Ask about your child’s growth and development and how your child compares to peers in term of height and weight. Take home your child’s growth numbers along with a current vaccine list at the end of every check-up for your own records.
Make sure your child is on track in terms of the necessary vaccinations.
Gross and fine motor skills
Ask whether your child’s gross and fine motor skills development is on track. Raise any concerns you might have.
Physical activity and exercise
Ask about physical activity and exercise. Ask the doctor if your child is active enough.
Ask whether your child is getting enough of the necessary nutrients through regular meals. Ask whether your child should be taking vitamin supplements.
More restful sleep
Ask what steps you can take to help your child get a more restful night of sleep.
Concerns about sight
Raise any concerns you may have about your child’s sight. Ask how you can tell if your child needs glasses. What signs should you be on the lookout for?
Ask when your child should stay home from school because of illness.
Ask what the procedure is for contacting the doctor outside of office hours.
Don't be afraid to ask questions
Don’t be afraid to ask the doctor any question, even if you’re afraid it may be silly or trivial. And be honest with the doctor. If, for example, you are not going to follow a recommendation or suggestion, it’s best to be straightforward about it.
Get specific “homework assignments” from the doctor before you leave. Ask what you and your child should be looking to achieve in terms of development and growth before the next regularly scheduled appointment.
Parent Toolkit resources were developed by NBC News Learn with the help of subject-matter experts, including Dr. Natasha Burgert, Pediatrician, Pediatric Associates