The Pediatrician's Role

During the toddler and pre-school stage, your doctor was focused on overseeing your child's development. With a tween, this focus continues, but in addition, the pediatrician-patient interaction takes on increased significance. In fact, your pediatrician now also puts her expertise to work in assessing your youngster's state of mind, eating habits, behavior and attitudes and also in identifying any areas of concern that should be addressed.

An Overview

Before you head to the pediatrician for the next visit, it can help you and your child to know exactly what to expect. Review the following list of areas your pediatrician is likely to cover during this wellness visit. This will allow you to be mentally prepared and to also make a list of any questions you and your child have in advance.

Growth: The pediatrician will check your child's weight and height to be sure he is growing and thriving as expected.

Health status: The doctor should also check your child's vitals, such as blood pressure, temperature, pulse, heart, lungs and reflexes. These can be important signs of her physical wellbeing.

Learning: Your doctor will want to monitor how well your child is doing in school and will be alert to any signs that he is having difficulty sitting still, focusing or completing schoolwork, since these can sometimes be signs of a number of health conditions.

Personal Information: Your pediatrician will also check your child's private areas and ask her some sensitive questions about eating habits, friends, sexual attitudes, worries or problems, safety and alcohol or drug use. The focus of these questions will be geared toward your child's age level. As your child nears puberty, many pediatricians will ask you to leave the room so she can have this conversation with your child alone. This can be extremely important, since your child may be willing to share information or concerns with the doctor that she wouldn't if you were present.

Immunizations and Screenings: Some years, your child will also need immunizations for various diseases and also screenings for things like vision and hearing.

Sex Matters

Keep in mind that as your child gets older, she may prefer to have a pediatrician of the same sex. This can increase her comfort level during the physical exam and make it easier for her to talk about personal matters and ask questions. 

If you need to find a new pediatrician, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)'s website provides a referral service that offers a directory of names searchable by area and also gives some tips to keep in mind that will help you select one who will be a good fit for you and your child's needs.




Keep Kids Healthy

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)