Yearly well-child visits for your preteen help 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.
What Happens at Well-Child Visits for Your Preteen
Your preteen needs to have yearly 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 preteen 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 Preteen’s Development
Your preteen’s doctor can help you keep track of your child’s key developmental milestones, which can include physical, mental, and social skills.
At each visit, your doctor will ask you questions to help make sure your preteen 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 preteens take longer to start puberty or be interested in the opposite sex. 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.
Developmental milestones for most preteens ages 11 to 14 include:
- Interest in looks and fashion
- Mood swings
- Worrying what their peers think
- Gaining a clearer sense of right and wrong
- Getting better at problem-solving
- Wanting more independence
- Challenging the rules and their parents
Health Information & History
At well-child visits for your preteen, your doctor will ask you to answer some questions about your child’s health and maybe even your family history.
Health questions, like:
- Have they started showing signs of puberty?
- Do they often complain of any type of pain?
Behavior and emotion questions, like:
- Do they have trouble following directions?
- Are they sad or bored?
- Do they show signs of depression?
- Do they have someone to talk to about their problems?
Eating habit questions, like:
- What do they eat on a normal day? Are they eating more with puberty?
- Do they show signs of an eating disorder?
School and activity questions, like:
- Do they like going to school?
- What do they like to do on the weekends and after school?
- Do they participate in any physical activities?
Safety questions, like:
- Does anyone in your home have a gun? Is it locked and secure so they can’t access it?
- Are they experiencing any kind of violence?
- Are they using any tobacco, alcohol, or drugs?
And family and friend questions, like:
- Have there been any changes in the family, like a new sibling?
- Do they spend time with friends or a boyfriend or girlfriend?
Sexuality questions, like:
- Have you talked to them about puberty?
- Are they dating?
- Have you talked to them about preventing STDs and pregnancy?
At well-child visits for your preteen, you can expect their doctor to:
- Measure their height, weight, BMI, and blood pressure
- Check their body and limbs
- Take their temperature
- Check their vision and hearing
- Decide if they need any lab tests, like a blood test
- Give them any shots or screenings they need
Education, Counseling & Health Goals
Your preteen’s doctor can help you with important information about:
- Caring for your preteen
- Managing any conditions or diseases they might have
- Eating disorders
- Tobacco, alcohol, or drugs
- Preventing violence in relationships or dealing with bullying
- Preventing STDs and pregnancy
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, dealing with depression, and more.
Prepare for Well-Child Visits for Your Preteen
Preparing yourself with questions to ask and answers to your doctor’s questions can help you make the most of well-child visits for your preteen.
Know Your Family and Preteen’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 preteen’s life, like a divorce in the family, the death of a loved one, a big move, or a new school.
Your family’s history of health and wellness is also an important part of your preteen’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 preteen’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 and Help Your Child Get More Involved
Prepare for well-child visits for your preteen by knowing any questions or issues you want to talk about ahead of time. Some things you might want to ask about:
- Health conditions, like asthma or allergies
- Getting ready to talk to them about:
- Tobacco, alcohol, and drugs
- Making sure your kids eat right and get enough exercise
- Helping them stay at a healthy weight
- Internet safety
- Preventive care they need
- What to do if they get sick or hurt
Once your preteen starts puberty, your child’s doctor will usually ask you to leave the room during the physical exam. This will help them build trust with their doctor and teach them to take control of their health care. Plus, it gives them some privacy at what can be an embarrassing time of physical changes.
At this age, your preteens can also start to help managing their care. They can call to schedule appointments, help fill out medical forms, and prepare their own questions to ask the doctor.
Know What’s Covered
Learn more about what immunizations are covered for your preteens. And log in to Your Health Alliance or search by your or your preteen’s member number to see what 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.