Yearly well-child visits for your teenager 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 Teenager
Your teen 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 teen 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 Teenager’s Development
Your teen’s doctor can help you keep track of their key developmental milestones, which can include physical, mental, and social skills.
At each visit, your doctor will ask you and your teen questions to help make sure your teen is reaching milestones on schedule. This can help them recognize signs of problems early on and put your mind at ease.
Each teenager grows differently. Some kids take longer to hit puberty, to be romantically interested in peers, or to worry about their future. 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 teens ages 15 to 17 include:
- Spending more time outside the family, like with friends, peers, and dates
- Worrying about their future, like going to college
- More interest in romantic and sexual relationships
- Wanting to try new things, which could include tobacco, drugs, or alcohol
See more milestones for your teens.
Health Information & History
At well-child visits for your teenager, your doctor will ask you and your teen to answer some questions about your teen’s health and maybe even your family history.
Health questions, like:
- Do you often get any type of pain or headaches?
Behavior and emotion questions, like:
- Do you have trouble following directions?
- Do you often feel sad or bored?
- Is there someone you can talk to about your problems?
Eating habit questions, like:
- What do you eat on a normal day?
School and activity questions, like:
- Do you like going to school?
- What do you like to do on the weekends and after school?
- Do you participate in any physical activities?
Safety questions, like:
- Do you always wear a seatbelt in the car?
- Are you experiencing any kind of violence?
- Do you or your friends use any tobacco, alcohol, or drugs?
And family and friends questions, like:
- Have there been any changes in your family recently?
- Do you have close friends?
Sexuality questions, like:
- Do you have any questions about your body?
- Are you dating?
- Do you know how to prevent STDs and unwanted pregnancy?
Future questions, like:
- Have you started to think about what you want to do after high school?
At well-child visits for your teenager, 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 teen’s doctor can help you with important information about:
- Caring for your teen
- 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 teen’s health, like maintaining a healthy weight, dealing with depression, and more.
Prepare for Well-Child Visits for Your Teenager
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 teenager.
Know Your Family and Teen’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 teen’s life, like a divorce in the family, the death of a loved one, a big move, a new school, or the serious breakup of a relationship or a friendship.
Your family’s history of health and wellness is also an important part of your teenager’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 teen’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 Teen Get More Involved
Prepare for well-child visits for your teenager 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, allergies, or acne
- Talking to them about:
- Tobacco, alcohol, and drugs
- Making sure your teens eat right and get enough exercise
- Changes in their behavior or mood or loss of interest in favorite activities
- Sexual development
- Helping them stay at a healthy weight
- Internet safety
- Helping them drive safely
- Preventive care they need
- What to do if they get sick or hurt
After starting puberty, your teen’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 teens 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 teenagers. And log in to Your Health Alliance or search by your or your teen’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.