How Parents Can Work With Doctors to Improve Their Child’s Health
It is important for your child to see his or her doctor often as they grow, from infancy through their teenage years. Your child’s visits to the doctor are when the doctor can measure how your child is growing, give your child preventive care, and talk with you and your child about their eating habits and behavior.
Below are questions you can answer about experiences with your child’s doctor. There are also lists of ways that you can help make your child’s care better.
Does your child’s doctor talk about how your child is growing?
Some children grow at a different pace than others. Your doctor should talk with you about your child’s height and weight, including if it is different than expected.
Here are some ways you and your child’s doctor can talk about your child’s height and weight:
- Your child’s doctor should discuss what to expect in terms of your child’s height and weight.
- If your child’s height or weight differs from what is expected, ask the doctor why. Also discuss what, if anything, you or others should do.
Does your child’s doctor talk about your child’s diet and eating habits? This includes how much, and the kinds of food your child eats.
A lot of children today are overweight or obese. Studies show that this can lead to many types of health problems. These include type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and liver disease.
Here are some ways that you can talk with your child’s doctor about diet and eating habits:
- Talk with your child’s doctor about his or her diet, weight, and eating habits.
- Ask what to do if your child is overweight or obese. The doctor might refer your child to a certified nutritionist or a registered dietitian.
Does your child’s doctor talk about ways to keep your child safe? This includes ways to prevent your child from getting hurt or injured.
Talking about how to keep your child safe is important because accidents and injuries are a leading cause of death and disability among young children and teenagers.
Here are some ways you can talk to your child’s doctor about safety:
- Ask your child’s doctor about ways to keep your child safe. This includes keeping the poison control number near your phone. It also means making sure that your child wears a seat belt when riding in the car and a helmet when on a bike.
- Discuss ways to make your home safer. If you have a swimming pool, make sure there is a fence around it. If you have a gun, make sure it is kept in a locked cabinet.
Does your child’s doctor ask about your child’s behavior? This may be when your child has a lot of tantrums, is very shy or quiet, or has problems at school.
Doctors should talk about a child’s behavior. Sometimes there are problems. For instance, preschool and school-aged children may show signs of delayed speech or other developmental challenges.
Here are some ways you can talk with your child’s doctor about your child’s behavior:
- Talk with the doctor about behaviors to expect at your child’s age.
- Let the doctor know if you are worried about your child’s behavior. Ask what to do when your child behaves this way.
Does your child’s doctor’s office remind you about preventative care? This includes needed vaccines, yearly flu shots, eye exams, and other ways of keeping your child healthy.
Studies show that vaccines can save lives. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children get vaccines to help prevent a lot of childhood diseases. These include measles, whooping cough, and the flu.
Here are some ways you can talk with your child’s doctor about preventive care:
- Make sure that your child gets all needed vaccines, shots, and exams.
- Your child’s doctor should explain the benefits and risks of vaccines and other tests.
- The doctor should keep track of when your child gets preventive care. The doctor should also say when your child needs other vaccines, shots, and exams.
- Ask the doctor if your child needs other exams, such as hearing tests.
Click here to download How Parents Can Work with Doctors to Improve Their Child’s Health