10 Questions to ask about your child's health
Parents play a key role in their child's healthy development and disease prevention. Here are the 10 questions you need to ask your pediatrician as a part of your child's scheduled wellness checks.
Dr. Jeffrey Lazarus, M.D., is a board-certified pediatrician who knows the value of both traditional and complementary and alternative medicine. We recently spoke with him about the questions parents need to ask when they take their child to the pediatrician's office.
Questions for healthy development
In his 25 years of experience as a pediatrician and 14 years as a medical hypnotist, Lazarus has seen thousands of patients and their parents. He encouraged parents to ask their pediatrician the following questions to ensure their child's healthy development into adulthood.
"Is my child developing normally?"
It's important for parents to ask questions about healthy development, including physical, mental and emotional development. Pediatricians usually discuss physical development with ease, but mental and emotional development may prove challenging to address unless a parent asks first.
"How can I help my child have a good diet?"
Most parents know their children need healthy foods for a healthy life, but sometimes it can prove challenging to deal with picky eaters. Pediatricians have knowledge about how to help kids eat a healthy diet, even when obstacles arise.
"How much sleep should she be getting for her age and stage?"
Sleep is vital for physical and cognitive development. Make sure your child is on track with her sleep patterns by talking to your pediatrician about any concerns you may have.
"How much exercise should my child get every day?"
Lazarus encouraged parents to ask for specific suggestions to increase their child's activity level.
"What does a healthy stool look like?"
This might sound a little gross, but parents need to know what a healthy stool looks like. Constipation can cause many problems for development, so parents need to know how the stool should look so they can address their concerns immediately.
"What is the right amount of screen time for my child?"
Very few parents abide by the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for screen time, so talk to your pediatrician about what's acceptable. It may help for your child to hear it directly from the doctor.
"How can I encourage more reading?"
Reading is vital for cognitive development, but kids can easily get stuck watching television and playing video games. Ask your doctor for recommendations to encourage a love of reading.
"How much anxiety and depression is normal?"
All kids can feel angst and sadness from time to time, but talk with your child's pediatrician about warning signs for abnormal anxiety and depression. Be prepared with specific examples if you're concerned about your child's feelings.
"How can I talk to my child about his daily life?"
Kids, especially teenagers, aren't known for being great conversationalists. Ask his doctor for conversation starters. Talking regularly with your child is the best way to prevent bullying and other problem behaviors.
"What can I do as a parent to help my child be independent?"
Helicopter parenting is certainly a pitfall of this day and age. Your child's pediatrician understands emotional development, so be sure to ask about ways to encourage a healthy independence in your child.
Finally, Lazarus communicated that the most important component of your child's healthy development may not be found in the answers to these questions. "The most important advice I can give parents is to spend time with their child," Lazarus said. "Give your child the unwritten and unspoken message that you love him unconditionally." This alone will work wonders for your child's healthy growth into adulthood.
What other questions do you make sure to ask your child's pediatrician? Tell us in the comments section below.