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The average checkup can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to your kids. There are a million and one things that you want to remember- everything from what the doctor says to all of questions you want to ask. Studies have shown that you only get about 15 minutes of face time with your child’s doctor and sometimes that 15 minutes can feel rushed, making you forget the majority of the questions you wanted to ask.
Here are a few tips and tricks to help you make the most out of your child’s doctor visit:
1. Find a doctor your child likes. When a child goes to the doctor, it needs to feel like what is called a “medical home.” It is important for children to feel comfortable walking into the doctor’s office because they have established a relationship there with either a doctor or a nurse. It is also very important that YOU like the healthcare provider you have chosen for your child. Try making the appointment a month in advance, this way you can think of any questions you may have or just better prepare yourself for your child’s visit.
2. Know your child’s medical history. Even if your child is healthy, you should have a folder or even a smartphone app that is up to date with information such as immunization dates, past tests, as well as any health issues, concerns, treatments and drug reactions and allergies. To help you stay even more organized and informed, try storing all of the paperwork in an organized file - including a detailed family health history and business cards from any specialists your child has ever seen.
3. Arrive prepared. Before the visit, make a note of any medications and supplements your child has ever taken. Anything from multi vitamins, to over-the-counter pain or allergy medications. If you are seeing this doctor for the first time, bring your child’s medical history paperwork. You can never be too careful!
4. Take notes. During the actual visit, don’t be afraid to write down what your pediatrician says. Note any condition that’s diagnosed or any medical prescriptions recommended for your child. If you are unsure of anything - even the spelling - don’t be afraid to ask!
5. Don’t be afraid to second guess. It’s totally normal and perfectly ok to question everything from the diagnosis to bedtime advice. It’s ok to voice any concerns, questions or reservations that you may have about the safety, side effects or procedures of your child’s newly prescribed medication. If you sense that your doctor is reluctant to run a test you believe that your child needs, or you don’t feel that he/she is listening to your concerns, it’s ok to get a second opinion. You are your child’s advocate, they depend on you for their health and well being!