You don't have to be perfect to be the perfect parent!

Be sure your have a healthcare provider on your “team”….

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Providing your child routine checkups with a healthcare provider you know and trust is so important in your child’s healthy development!

I am looking at my “to do list” today and once again I realize how busy I am.  Families are just spread thin!  The idea of adding one more appointment to your list may just seem a bit impossible.  One appointment that needs to stay on that “to do list” is your child’s well child checkups.  In this world of convenience, many parents have started to rely on the many drop-in clinics for their child’s medical care.  After all, the hours are convenient, no appointment is needed, and it is often in the same store where you pick up diapers!  As much as busy families need convenience, children and parents also need health care that is comprehensive and provided by someone who knows you and your child.  Well child care cannot be done well when you are being seen for an ear infection, cough or other illness.  A well child visit is a time to talk about your child’s development, behavior questions, eating, sleeping, discipline or any other question you may have.  It is through these conversations with your child’s healthcare provider that you form a real trusting relationship and a team approach to your child’s health.  This simply doesn’t happen when your child’s healthcare is pieced together by visits to walk-in clinics where providers can’t form relationships with you or your child.

What is the best way to form a trusting relationship with your child’s healthcare provider?  There are several suggestions for parents….

  1. Be sure you “click” with your child’s healthcare provider!  Finding someone who relates well with you is so very important.  If you don’t feel you can call with questions, have the time to discuss your child’s needs, or you are simply uncomfortable, then your healthcare provider may not be a good fit for you!
  2. Have a list when you go to the appointment.  Write down several questions that you have so you don’t forget them!  Any issue with your child’s health or development can be covered!
  3. Talk to other care givers of your child.  Do they have any questions or concerns?
  4. Remember, your child’s healthcare provider is the expert with regards to healthcare, but you are the expert with regards to your child.  You know your child best!

The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended a standard well child checkup routine.  These routine visits will be frequent in the first 3 years of life…

  • 3 to 5 days
  • 1 month
  • 2 months
  • 4 months
  • 6 months
  • 9 months
  • 12 months
  • 15 months
  • 18 months
  • 24 months
  • 30 months
  • 3 years
  • 4 years
  • And once every year thereafter for an annual health supervision visit that includes a      physical exam as well as a developmental, behavioral, and learning assessment.

These visits will not only provide assessment of your child’s physical health and growth and development but also their emotional and behavioral growth and development will be assessed.  Routine screenings and immunizations will be provided to maintain your child’s health as well as discussions about safety and other tips about what to expect in the next few months.

On February 24, 2014 the new recommendations for Preventive Pediatric Health Care were published.  These recommendations called “Bright Futures” are guidelines for well child checkups for pediatric providers.  Under the Affordable Care Act all of these recommendations on the Bright Futures schedule should be covered with no cost sharing.  The new changes include:

  •  A specific screening tool to assess adolescents for alcohol and drug use.
  • Screening for depression at ages 11 through 21 years has been added, along with suggested screening tools.
  • Cholesterol screening between ages 9 and 11 years.
  • A risk assessment for hematocrit or hemoglobin (iron testing) at ages 15 and 30 months was added.
  • Screening for HIV was added between age 16 and 18 years.
  • Adolescents should no longer be routinely screened for cervical dysplasia until age      21.
  • Newborns should be screened for critical congenital heart disease using pulse oximetry before leaving the hospital.

All the recommendations for preventive pediatric health care can be found here.

Your child’s healthcare provider should be an integral part of your “team” in raising a healthy happy child.  Having a true relationship with your child’s healthcare provider that is comfortable is so important.  Don’t piece your child’s healthcare together, find a provider who you trust and truly “click with” because you and your child will be spending lots of time with him or her over the next 18 years.  I can say that as my children have grown up and left the wonderful pediatrician who followed them through their childhood, I had a true bit of sadness.  We were a team!  His waiting room and fish aquarium had been a comfortable place for us.  He definitely saw me at my best, and also when I was tired, worried and anxious and needed encouragement.  His calm approach was perfect for me, don’t be afraid to find the provider who best fits your needs and then build that relationship…it is good for you and most importantly for providing a healthy start in life for your child.

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.


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