As the clock tick-tocked into 2017, about 50 percent of Americans were making resolutions. Some of them just might be achieved; lots of them won’t be. But there’s one resolution that any parent can keep—now.
So what is this magical resolution? Check out our segment on “New Mexico Living”—then scroll down for more.
The resolution in question: Make every doctor’s appointment for the entire year now. And why not? You already know that there are certain checkups your whole family needs to have at certain times and doctors schedule far in advance. Once those appointments re inked, you don’t have to worry about last-minuting them.
For kids, well-child visits with the pediatrician are regular. Between the ages of 1 and 4, kids see the doctor 7 times (at 12 months, 15 months, 18 months, 24 months, 30 months, 3 years, 4 years), and then after that, it’s once a year for immunizations, flu shots, and check-ups.
Experts say kids should start seeing the optometrist around age 6, and then every two years after that first appointment. Trips to the dentist for cleanings and exams happen twice a year, approximately six months apart—some dentists suggest every three months to build confidence and comfort levels.
Comfort, for kids, is key. (Even the most seasoned adult can get nervous going to the doctor, so imagine how little ones might feel!) Help them out by showing that you have confidence in the doctor—if they see that you’re at ease, they’re more likely to be at ease. Explain exactly what’s going to happen in the appointment (like, the doctor will look in her ears, will ask her to walk like a duck, will listen to her heart with a cool tool, and so on) so there are few surprises. Books can help, as can role-play with a toy doctor kit at home. Be honest and not critical; saying “don’t be afraid” or “the shot won’t hurt” zeroes out your credibility for your kid. Instead, say you understand this may not be the most fun thing to do, but you’ll be there with her and you’ll do it all with her. And be sure to offer something special to look forward to afterward, no matter how they might behave during the visit.
And while you’re busy scheduling your family’s appointments, make sure you schedule yours, too. It’s just as important that we parents care for our own health—if we’re not healthy, we can’t exactly keep everyone else healthy. For us, we’re looking at once-a-year (or every other year, minimum) appointments with our primary care physicians, twice-a-year dentist appointments and oral exams, and annual preventive care appointments—especially for screenings if we have family histories for certain kinds of cancer.