With the rise in chronic, preventable diseases in adulthood, starting children early on the path to good health has become more important than ever. You can start helping children aged 3 through 6 develop healthy, lifetime habits by starting them with well-child exams.
Scheduling a well-child visit annually with your child’s provider is a great way to set a healthy tone for children aged 3 through 6, when they’re establishing their lifestyle patterns. It’s also the time when a provider might discover developmental delays, which can be best addressed when a child is young.
When you bring your child in for a well-child exam your child’s provider will check:
- Social and emotional development
- Blood pressure
- Vision and hearing
- Body Mass Index (BMI)
- Oral health
- Eating/nutrition habits
- Physical activity habits
- Family history for chronic, preventable diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
- Needed resources for the family, such as food or housing
Your child’s provider will also check for any needed immunizations. The Centers for Disease Control, or CDC, recommends the following vaccines (PDF) sometime when your child is aged 4 to 6:
- Inactivated Polio
- Varicella (chicken pox)
Other benefits of routinely bringing your child in for annual well checks during these early years include:
- Helping your child develop a trusting relationship with their provider
- Getting them in the habit of seeing their provider annually, even as a teen and adult
- Teaching them the importance of preventive care