Toddler and pre-school age: After the first year, well-child check ups are scheduled for between 15-18 months, at 24 months, at 30 months, and then annually thereafter. Milestones continue to be checked up until school age, monitoring for any changes in normal development. Certain tests are completed during these visits such as hearing tests, vision screens, and occasionally lab work. Discussions are held with the family in determining the optimum time to start school. Questionnaires are completed to assess the child’s emotional, social, and behavioral tendencies to identify any concerns.
School age: Well child check-ups during this age are mostly focused on school achievement, physical activity, and overall health. Certain health conditions can be identified at this age and addressed before they become bigger issues later on such as learning difficulties, dyslexia, anxiety, and trouble interacting with peers.
Teens and adolescents: As the child gets older, they take a more active role in the check ups as they should be taking a more active role in their health in general. Discussions during this stage typically are focused on puberty, social media, metal health, and scholastic achievement. Additionally, things such as drugs, alcohol, smoking, gender identity, sexual orientation, and safe driving are discussed with the high school students.
To provide an opportunity to practice independence and also to help them feel less uncomfortable talking about their bodies and life in general, there is time in the visit for the teenager to talk with the doctor one-on-one. I have found these chats to be interesting and very rewarding as the teenagers ask very thoughtful questions and also let me know what kind of health rumors they are hearing from their peers. Parents can feel reassured that we are just talking. All physical examinations are always performed in the presence of the accompanying parent. Even at this age, teenagers still look to their parents as their number one source for honest and correct health information.
A summary of the preventive tests and screenings performed at the well child visits can be found here: https://www.aap.org/en-us/documents/periodicity_schedule.pdf