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Well-child exams

Four children standing in front of a school

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To help children and teens grow into healthy adults, we recommend regular well-child exams. Before the start of the school year is the perfect time to make sure your child is current on their well-child visits.

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"Well-child visits are an important tool that health care providers use to screen for medical and developmental issues," said Heidi Kram, MD, a pediatrician at Allina Health Northfield Clinic. "These visits also provide a great opportunity for parents and children to build a relationship with their pediatric or family medicine providers."

Also called well-care visits or checkups, wellness exams, or annual physicals, these regular medical examinations should start when a child is a few days old and continue until he or she is 20.

How can I best prepare my child for their checkup?

"It is best to talk with your child before the doctor's appointment about what to expect, but wait to discuss any immunizations (shots) until during the appointment. That way the child doesn't think and worry about the shots for days or hours ahead of time," says Sandra Mayrand, MD, a pediatrician at Allina Health Bandana Square. "Research has shown that parents who have a positive, calm and reassuring approach have children with less hysterical fussing and crying."

What can I expect during my child's physical?

When you bring your child to an Allina Health clinic for a well-care visit or checkup, your child's health care provider will:

  • measure your child's height and weight
  • check vision and hearing
  • ask questions about the environment in which your child is living
  • give immunizations (shots) that protect your child from certain diseases
  • answer questions about your child's well-being

Health and wellness handouts

These handouts outline what may be discussed and shots that may be given during checkups at certain ages.

Developmental milestone videos

These videos by Minnesota Department of Education explain what parents can expect in their child's development at different ages.