Kids need to go to the doctor or nurse for a “well-child visit” 7 times between the ages of 1 and 4. A well-child visit is when you take your child to the doctor for a full checkup. This is different from other visits for sickness or injury.
At a well-child visit, the doctor or nurse can help catch any problems early, when they may be easier to treat. You will also have a chance to ask any questions you may have about your child’s behavior, eating habits, or sleeping habits.
Make the most of your child’s visit by:
- Gathering important information
- Making a list of questions for the doctor
- Knowing what to expect from the visit
What about cost?
Well-child visits are covered under the Affordable Care Act. Depending on your insurance plan, your child may be able to get well-child checkups at no cost to you. Check with your insurance provider.
How often do I need to take my child for well-child visits?
Young children grow quickly, so they need to visit the doctor or nurse regularly to make sure they are healthy.
Children ages 1 to 4 need to see the doctor or nurse when they are:
- 12 months old
- 15 months old (1 year and 3 months)
- 18 months old (1 year and 6 months)
- 24 months old (2 years)
- 30 months old (2 years and 6 months)
- 3 years old
- 4 years old
If you are worried about your child’s health, don’t wait until the next scheduled visit – call the doctor or nurse right away.
How do I know if my child is growing and developing on schedule?
Each child grows and develops differently. For example, some children will take longer to start talking than others.
Your child’s doctor or nurse can help you identify “developmental milestones,” or signs to look for in your child at different ages. This is an important part of the well-child visit.
There are some basic developmental milestones that your doctor or nurse will look for at each visit.
By age 12 months, most kids:
- Have at least 1 tooth
- Stand up by pulling on a table or chair
- Walk (either with help or on their own)
- Try to copy animal sounds
- Say “mama” and “dada,” plus 1 or 2 other words
By age 15 months, most kids:
- Bend to reach the floor without falling
- Put blocks in a cup
- Make scribbles with crayons
- Take toys over to show a parent
- Listen to a story and look at pictures
By age 18 months, most kids:
- Try to run
- Climb onto small chairs without help
- Build towers of 2 to 4 blocks
- Use a spoon to eat and a cup to drink (with help)
- Take off simple pieces of clothing (like socks and hats)
- Point to show someone what they want
By age 24 months, most kids:
- Turn a doorknob
- Kick a ball without losing their balance
- Have at least 16 teeth
- Can tell someone when they are hungry, thirsty, or need to use the bathroom
- Understand instructions with 2 steps (“Put on your shoes and then get your ball.”)
- Copy others, especially adults and older children
By age 30 months, most kids:
- Point to different body parts when asked (“Point to your nose.”)
- Play simple games with other kids, like tag
- Brush their teeth with help
- Jump up and down in one place
- Put on their clothes with help
By age 3 years, most kids:
- Have all 20 “baby” teeth
- Use the toilet during the day (may still need a diaper overnight)
- Copy a circle when drawing
- Put one foot on each step when walking up stairs
- Speak in sentences of 3 to 4 words
- Ask questions
- Know their name, age, and sex
By age 4 years, most kids:
- Hop on one foot
- Cut out a picture using child-safe scissors
- Throw a ball overhand
- Count to at least 4
- Ask lots of questions
- Play with imaginary (pretend) friends
Learn more about child development.