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12 July

Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Pediatrician

Category: Family Medicine, OB/GYN & Maternity, Pediatrics

By: Dr. Tamisha Jones, Medical Director of Pediatrics

As summer ends, and you head back into your pediatrician’s office for your child’s yearly check-up, it is an important time to ask your child’s doctor the right questions.  In fact, here is a list of 5 questions you should ask your pediatrician:

  1. “Is my child spending too much time watching a screen?”  Screens include televisions, cell phones, tablets, and video games.  When it comes to screen time, The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the rule of 2s:  no screen time until 2 years old, and after age 2, only 2 hours or less per day.  Busy, well-intention parents often rely too much on phones and tablets to entertain children.  This is a great topic to discuss further with your child’s pediatrician.
  2. “Is my child overweight?”  Your child’s doctor wants to engage you in how to keep your child healthy and fit.   It is increasingly difficult to tell “just by looking” whether or not a child is overweight, or sometimes even obese.  These diagnoses must be made by using a child’s height and weight in a special formula to determine where he or she falls on the growth curve.  Helping families understand the implications of an overweight or obese child is not meant to be a judgment on the family.  It is an opportunity to partner with your doctor in how your child can be healthy through proper diet and regular exercise.
  3. “Can we talk about ways to better discipline my child?”  Parents are sometimes uncertain as to whether this is an appropriate question for their pediatrician.  It is!  Just like potty-training, there are many different ways to achieve good discipline.  Working together, you and your child’s pediatrician can develop a healthy, achievable, realistic plan for disciplining your child at any age.
  4. Can we talk about my child’s performance at school?”  Just like the above question, families are sometimes hesitant to discuss school performance including both grades and behavior.  Discussing difficulties or successes your child has at school can create a better overall picture of your child.  It can also help to identify behavioral issues or learning difficulties earlier.
  5. “I have this crazy question….”  Don’t worry.  Your pediatrician has heard it all.  You are unlikely to ask a question that he or she hasn’t already heard.  Don’t be afraid to ask a question that you think might be embarrassing or silly.  It isn’t.  And chances are you will leave the visit with some helpful information.