The Basics: Overview
Kids ages 11 to 14 need to go to the doctor or nurse for a “well-child visit” once a year.
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.
To make the most of the visit:
- Gather important information
- Make a list of questions for the doctor
- Know what to expect from the visit
- Help your child get more involved in the 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.
The Basics: Child Development
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. This is an important part of the well-child visit.
Some developmental milestones are related to your child’s behavior and learning, and others are about physical changes in your child’s body.
Visit these websites to learn more:
The Basics: Behavior Changes
What are some changes I might see in my child’s feelings, relationships, and behavior?
Developmental milestones for pre-teens and teens ages 11 to 14 include:
- More interest in their looks and clothes
- Mood swings (going quickly from happy to sad or sad to happy)
- More concern about what their friends and classmates think
- Stronger problem-solving skills
- Clearer sense of right and wrong
- Wanting more independence
- Challenging rules and resisting advice from parents
This is also a time when some kids may start showing signs of depression or eating disorders.
The Basics: Physical Changes
What are some physical changes my child will go through?
Many kids ages 11 to 14 are going through puberty. Puberty is when a child’s body develops into an adult’s body.
For girls, puberty usually starts between ages 9 and 13. For boys, it usually starts between ages 10 and 13.
You can help by giving your child information about what changes to expect during puberty. You can also encourage your child to talk about puberty with the doctor or another trusted adult, like a teacher or school nurse.
To get ideas for answering questions from your child, check out these questions middle schoolers ask about puberty.