Make the Most of Your Child’s Visit to the Doctor (Ages 1 to 4)

The Basics
Kids need to go to the doctor or nurse for a “well-child visit” 7 times between the ages of 1 and 4.

Take Action!
Make a list of questions to ask the doctor. Take this list to the next appointment.

Start Today: Small Steps

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The Basics

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Young children 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 to make sure she is healthy and developing normally. 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 questions about things like your child’s behavior, eating habits, and sleeping habits.

To make the most of your child’s visit:

What about cost?

Under the  Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law passed in 2010, insurance plans must cover well-child visits. Depending on your insurance plan, your child may be able to get well-child checkups at no cost to you. Check with your insurance company to learn more. 

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 and developing normally.

Children ages 1 to 4 need to see the doctor or nurse when they are:

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?

Your child’s doctor or nurse can help you identify “developmental milestones,” the new skills that children usually develop by a certain age. These include physical, mental, language, and social skills. 

Each child grows and develops differently. For example, some children will take longer to start talking than others.

Learn more about child development.

At each visit, the doctor or nurse will look for some basic developmental milestones to see if your child is developing on schedule. This is an important part of the well-child visit. 

By age 12 months, most kids:

Check out this complete list of developmental milestones for kids age 1.

By age 15 months, most kids:

By age 18 months, most kids:

Check out this complete list of developmental milestones for kids age 18 months

By age 24 months (2 years), most kids:

Check out this complete list of developmental milestones for kids age 24 months

By age 30 months, most kids:

By age 3 years, most kids:

Check out this complete list of developmental milestones for kids age 3 years

By age 4 years, most kids:

Check out this complete list of developmental milestones for kids age 4 years


Take Action!

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Take these steps to help you and your child get the most out of well-child visits.

Gather important information.

Take any medical records you have to the appointment, including a record of shots your child has received.

Make a list of any important changes in your child’s life since the last doctor’s visit, like:

Use this tool to  keep track of your child’s family health history.

Ask other caregivers about your child.

Before you visit the doctor, talk with others who care for your child, like a grandparent, daycare provider, or babysitter. They may be able to help you think of questions to ask the doctor or nurse.

Make a list of questions you want to ask the doctor.

Before the well-child visit, write down 3 to 5 questions you have. This visit is a great time to ask the doctor or nurse any questions about:

Here are some questions you may want to ask:

Take a notepad and write down the answers so you remember them later.

Ask what to do if your child gets sick. 

Make sure you know how to get in touch with a doctor or nurse when the office is closed. Ask how to get hold of the doctor on call – or if there's a nurse information service you can call at night or during the weekend. 

Know what to expect.

During each well-child visit, the doctor or nurse will ask you questions about your child, do a physical exam, and update your child's medical history. You'll also be able to ask your questions and discuss any problems you may be having.

The doctor or nurse will ask questions about your child.

The doctor or nurse may ask about:

Your answers to questions like these will help the doctor or nurse make sure your child is healthy and developing normally.

The doctor or nurse will also check your child’s body.

To check your child’s body, the doctor or nurse will:

See what else the doctor may ask when your child is:


Start Today: Small Steps

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