Getting your kids to their well-child visits helps them be their healthiest. These visits with your doctor are for a full checkup to make sure they’re healthy and developing normally. This is different from other visits for sickness or injury.
Your child needs to go to these visits at:
- 12 months old
- 15 months old (1 year and 3 months old)
- 18 months old (1 year and 6 months old)
- 2 years old
- 2 years and 6 months old
- 3 years old
- 4 years old
What Happens at Well-Child Visits
Your child needs to have regular well-child visits with their doctor to focus on their development, health, and wellness. At the appointment, some of the basics your doctor will cover are:
- Checking that your child is developing at a healthy rate and tracking their history
- Getting a physical exam
- Staying up to date with their preventive care
- Getting education and counseling
- If needed, setting health goals
Your Child’s Development
Your child’s doctor can help you keep track of your child’s key developmental milestones, which can include physical, mental, social, and language skills.
At each visit, your doctor will ask you questions to help make sure your child is reaching milestones on schedule. This can help them recognize signs of problems early on, and put your mind at ease.
Each child grows differently. Some kids take longer to start talking than others. Most of these aren’t a sign that something’s wrong. Your doctor can help you understand what differences could be because of something serious.
By 12 months, most kids:
- Have started to get their teeth in
- Stand up by pulling on furniture
- Walk with help or on their own
- Copy animal noises
- Say mama and dad and maybe a few other words
- Can follow simple directions
See more milestones for 12-month-olds.
By 15 months, most kids:
- Bend to the floor without falling
- Can put blocks in a container
- Make scribbles
- Bring and show toys to you
- Listen to stories and look at pictures
By 18 months, most kids:
- Walk up steps
- Run or try to run
- Climb onto low furniture or chairs without help
- Build short block towers
- Use spoons and cups
- Take off socks and hats
- Point towards things they want
- Play simple pretend, like feeding a doll
See more milestones for 18-month-olds.
By 2 years, most kids:
- Have 16 or more teeth
- Stand on tiptoe
- Kick a ball
- Can tell you they’re hungry or thirsty
- Understand instructions with 2 steps
- Copy others
- Name things in a picture book
See more milestones for 2-year-olds.
By 2 years and 6 months, most kids:
- Can point to different body parts when asked
- Play simple games with other kids
- Brush their teeth with help
- Jump up and down in place
- Put on clothing, although they may still need help
By 3 years, most kids:
- Have all 20 of their baby teeth
- Use the toilet during the day
- Can copy simple shapes while drawing
- Put one foot on each step to walk up the stairs
- Speak in short sentences
- Ask questions
- Know their name, age, and if they’re a boy or girl
See more milestones for 3-year-olds.
By 4 years, most kids:
- Hop on one foot or balance for a short time
- Can use child-safe scissors
- Count to 4 or higher
- Ask a lot of questions
- Play with imaginary friends
- Can name some colors
- Play simple board and card games
See more milestones for 4-year-olds.
Health Information & History
At well-child visits, your doctor will ask you to answer some questions about your kid’s health, and maybe even your family history.
- Health questions, like:
- Do they ever complain of headaches, stomachaches, or other kinds of pain?
- Do they have trouble breathing?
- Eating habit questions, like:
- What do they eat on a normal day?
- Activity questions, like:
- Do they play pretend and how?
- Safety questions, like:
- Do they ride in a car seat?
- And family questions, like:
- Have there been any changes in the family, like a new sibling?
At your child’s appointments, you can expect their doctor to:
- Measure their height, weight, and blood pressure
- Check their body and limbs
- Take their temperature
- Check their vision
- Give them any shots or screenings they need
Education, Counseling & Health Goals
Your child’s doctor can help you with important information about caring for your child, managing any conditions or diseases they might have, and preventing future problems.
Their doctor might have valuable handouts, websites, and advice to help or might want to refer you to a specialist who can help with specific issues further.
Their doctor can also help you set health goals to maintain or improve your child’s health, like maintaining a healthy weight.
Prepare for Well-Child Visits
Preparing yourself with questions to ask and answers to your doctor’s questions can help you make the most of your well-child visits.
Know Your Family and Child’s History
Make sure you bring any medical records you have that the doctor might not, especially to a first appointment with a new doctor, like a record of shots and screening results.
You should also make a list of any important changes in your child’s life, like being sick or hurt, changing caregivers, or starting daycare.
Your family’s history of health and wellness is also an important part of your child’s health record. Histories of illness and disease can help doctors look out for issues that run in families and more.
This family health history tool can help you track your family’s health, so that you’re always organized to talk to your child’s doctor. Not sure about your family history? Filling this out is the perfect time to talk to family members for firsthand details.
Talk to Your Doctor
Prepare for your well-child visits by knowing any questions or issues you want to talk about ahead of time. Some things you might want to ask about:
- Worries about their development
- Growth and normal development
- Sleep schedule
- Getting enough physical activity
- Healthy weight
- Getting them to try different foods
- Getting siblings to get along
- Disciplining them
- Screen time
- Preventive care they need
- What to do if they get sick
Know What’s Covered
Learn more about what immunizations are covered for your children. And log in to Your Health Alliance or search by your or your child’s member number to see what children’s preventive care your family’s plan covers.
If you’re not sure what’s covered and what you’ll need a preauthorization for, you can check your coverage and preauthorization lists at Your Health Alliance.