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To "Well Child" or Not...

Recently in a conversation, my interest was piqued when a mom mentioned bringing her 14 year old in for a "well child" visit. It struck me as odd, a 14 year old having a well child visit, however, it got me thinking.

See, I've long held a "rigorous" schedule of well child exams, right up until which point I begin to operate on a "need to know" (i.e ill child) schedule with our pediatrician, until sports physicals are required, which is 7th grade and every two years after that.

But I I in the minority? Is it the norm to bring your older children to the doctor every year?

When I think of it, I guess, "why not"...after all, I see a doctor every year, so why not my kids? I know that if I had concerns about them, I would bring them in in a heartbeat, but after so many years, so many visits of height and weight and peeks in healthy ears...why?

Now I've totally got my own wheels spinning here. As I sit with a 3 and a half year old who is over-due for her 3 year well child. Her birthday is in February. February = cold and flu season and bugs and germs and viruses that hide in every nook and cranny, on every surface, lingering in the air just waiting to be caught and passed onto our household of 7.

I purposely delayed hers, to avoid those nasty germs, with good intentions of getting her in after cold and flu season...but if any of you remember what the first 5 or so months of 2011 were like for us, life got overwhelming, and a 3 year well child visit seemed like the least of our worries and was put on the back burner.

Our insurance only covers one physical per year per person, so that means that if I take her in now for her 3 (and a half) year visit, I couldn't do her 4 year visit until next summer, at which point she'd be 4 and a half. One thing I've discovered in motherhood is that 4 year olds handle their Kindergarten vaccinations much better than 5 year olds.

MUCH better. (More on that in a sec...) So, she would get her 4 year vaccinations when she is closer to 5 and I'm guessing that wouldn't be so much fun. For anyone.

Especially if you know Baby Girl. She'd be liable to not speak to me for the rest of her life. And I'm totally not joking.

Slight digression...but important info for YOU! We took Dubya in for his 4 year well child exam one day shy of his fourth birthday. ONE DAY.

And they wouldn't do his shots. Not because they didn't want to, but because they said the schools are SO particular about this, that if they see a child had their shots before their 4th birthday, EVEN ONE DAY, they would make them be repeated.

So we waited until he was 5. It wasn't fun. 4 is SO much easier.

Lesson to you...schedule well child visits on or AFTER your child's birthday.

Just, perhaps, not 6 months after that birthday.

Anyway, how do YOU do well child visits? Every year until, well, forever? Or are you more like me and do them all right up until Kindergarten?

And now I sit and wonder, do I need to get all of my kiddos in for physicals?! GAH!

Why does parenting have to involve so much decision making.



  1. I do them every year, although my oldest is only 7 years old. But I don't plan on stopping his. As you said the insurance covers that well check and I like to hear what the pediatrician has to say about this age and stage.

  2. Although I'm sure a year or two was missed for various reasons, my mom took my brother and I in for well visits until we were old enough to drive ourselves and then she hounded us to make the appointments and go. She still hounds me about keeping my annuals, despite being grown with a kid and one on the way! My daughter is only 2.5 years, but I like hearing that she's growing well and seems to have all of her age appropriate skills and then some. It's a relief to me that apparently I am getting a grip on this parenting thing.

    In your situation, I'd probably pass on the 3 year well visit and just "start over" with 4 year, especially if shots are an issue.

  3. I know it's all different here than there but I was only ever taken for Well Child visits up until I started school at 4 years old, and then after that only when vaccinations were required.
    So long as you see a doctor when neccessary why make all the extra visits just to wait around, pick up other people's germs and then be sent on your way.
    You can keep an eye on weight, blood pressure and all that jazz at home and you know your family so much better than the doctors - you see them daily they see them for 5 minutes here and there which means you are so much better equiped to know if they look/sound/feel "off colour" in any way.

  4. Im sure this will not win me mother of the year, but I only did the well thing up until they got all their shots. Then I stopped. Not saying this is right or wrong, just saying you are not alone.

  5. I'm more like you...I got through infancy & toddler-hood, into preschool with all the recommended "well child" check-ups. We've done the immunizations for school and now, with my oldest we're onto the sports physicals. He also has asthma so we have yearly visits so all the school paper work is appropriate. My kids are so healthy, and rarely complain, that we've missed the early signs of illness a couple of times but we don't over do doctors visits for healthy kids.

  6. well, considering my kiddos are still babies, we do them every year, or every month-- whatever the doc says. Our insurance covers it 100%, so it's kind of pointless not to. And I am SO grateful that our pediatrician group that we go to has a well child clinic... that's right! it's ONLY for well child check ups. Meaning I don't have to worry (as much) about the being exposed to the flu germs.

  7. I recently got a somewhat harassing phone call from the peds office the other day informing me that my 14 month old baby is over due for a well baby visit. It seems I have not taken her in for a well baby since she was 2 months old. On the other hand, she has been in a few times for a sick visit, so it's not like they haven't seen her. We are delaying vaccinations, and she has been doing great so I haven't seen the point of bringing her into an office that only has one chair in the exam room when I have 3 kids that like to pick up any and every germ possible. That's just me though. :D

  8. My oldest had her 6 yo check up yesterday. I don't know what we will do in the future but probably continue. I am lucky that she doesn't get sick very often. So little, that the last time we were in was her 5 yo check up. If we continue that streak (fingers crossed) Im sure we will continue for a check up each year.

  9. Once they are done with shots I totally forget unless they need a sports physical. but speaking of which my precious almost 6 year old did not have her back to school shots and I bet my 8 and 11 year old are do shots too

  10. I have three kids 10,5 & 3 and with the younger two have delayed vaccinations (I don't even start until they are two and then do one vaccine at a time) and don't do well visits unless I am taking them for shots on my schedule...not the "recommended". They have never given me a hard time about missed well visits or delayed shots, which is really nice. My peds office will also let me just drop in for shots without an appointment as long as I'm coming in within the next few weeks. I find if I wait to do the shots at their appointment they always seem to come down with something and then we can't do shots. This way I take them in for shots while they are healthy and follow up with an well visit within a couple weeks.
    I think each families choice is the best for their family and we shouldn't be afraid that our choices are wrong.
    Blessings :D

  11. My son is only 2.5, so I don't know what we will do yet, haven't thought that far ahead. I know you are a nurse, so I'm wondering what your thoughts are on EMLA cream to make imms less horrible? I read about it in Parents, and had my doctor prescribe a tube. I have used it once and my son didn't cry much. I don't know if it was the EMLA, or they just weren't too bad of shots.

  12. I've always done well-child visits with all 4 of mine. I figure it's good to nip things in the bud, so to speak, rather than let something sneak up on us. I have gotten more lax about it with each child though, it seems. The two older ones went yearly up until they were probably 13 or 14. Perri is such a healthy kid that I think she was probably 3rd grade or so when we started 'forgetting' to go yearly. Other than sports physicals, which are required annually here. Tucker Man sees his allergist twice yearly for well-visits because of maintenance meds for his asthma and allergies, so he sees a doc more than most.

  13. We don't do well-child visits. My kids are 16 and 18 and they haven't been to the doctor in years. My kids are very rarely sick (don't even remember the last time!) and I pretty much only take them in for that. We did take my son in for acne problems but other than that and some allergy issues for him about five years ago, I don't think they've been since they got their last immunizations when they started kindergarten. My philosophy is, "If it's not broken, don't fix it." lol! It's worked great so far!

  14. I think children should have a one year visit, because it will get them used to going to the doctors and not be afraid of them. And... the sooner that the doctor can catch something that is there, the better :) Better to be pro-active with health and teach the children that at a young age.

  15. My kids don't go to the doc. that is until their well visits :) Everytime they get sick, in a way that is questionable, I call the office and ask the nurse for "red flag" symptoms based on what they have. So when it comes for the yearly check up, honestly that's about the only time they DO go in :)
    Acilia, my oldest, just had her 8 year check up. If all goes well, she won't be seen until till next year!! :)

  16. My insurance does not cover well child visits so we don't do them. Period. We make up a reason to see the doc when they are infants. We selectively vax and do it at the health dept on our own schedule. We only see the doc for problems.

  17. I don't do well visits now. My little one is 2, and been once for a lactation appt. They called the other day asking if I wanted to schedule his 2 yr check up. We didn't do the 2,4,6,9,12,18mo so why bother with the 2 year. We don't vaccinate, kids haven't been to the doctor in a long time. I like to keep my distance.:)

  18. Just start her on a well visit schedule that has her going very 1/2 birthday. It won't hurt anything :)

  19. My oldest is 13 and my youngest is 2. I have always taken them for well child visits....every year....except my 8 year her 7 year old visit her pediatrician said see you in 2 years unless there is a problem. But my 13 year old has gone every year since birth.


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