As your child gets closer to school age, well visits begin to transition. Your 4 year old is now enjoying more social interactions with her peers and gaining more independence each day. And as a parent, your concerns and challenges differ greatly from when your child was an infant or toddler.
“We switch from more feeding, bodily function and growth/development concerns to more behavioral and social interaction concerns,” said Dr. Emma Raizman, of Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics Medina. “At 4 years of age, many children are in preschool and they are developing a sense of independence, which can result in behavior issues. So, we discuss many concerns focused on tantrums, not always listening and family interactions.”
You can also expect your pediatrician to assess your child in a variety of ways, including:
- Check your child’s weight and height, and plot the measurements on the growth charts.
- Check your child’s blood pressure, vision and hearing using standard testing equipment.
- Ask questions, address concerns and offer advice about how your child is developing. For example, by 4 years it’s common for many children to know their first and last name, and gender; be able to tell a story; hop on 1 foot; and identify some colors and numbers, among other milestones.
- Perform a physical exam while you are present. This will include listening to the heart and lungs, observing motor skills, and talking to your child to assess speech and language development.
- Update immunizations. Immunizations can protect kids from serious childhood illnesses, so it’s important that your child receive them on time. Immunization schedules can vary from office to office, so talk to your doctor about what to expect.