Why Well-Child Visits Matter


Woman holding child; healthcare provider in background

Is my child on track?
Should I be worried?
Is this normal?

Parenting comes with uncertainty, and that’s why having a trusted expert you can rely on is so important – so you don’t have to go it alone.

Not just for when your child is sick, your pediatrician is your partner in good health too. Each year (or at more frequent intervals for babies and younger children), your child should be seen by their pediatrician or family provider to check development in three key categories: physical, emotional, and social. Known as a well-child visit, this routine appointment helps your child’s doctor make sure everything is going as expected.

What Happens at a Well-Child Visit

Woman holding smiling baby; healthcare provider listening to baby's chest with stethoscope Well-child, well-baby, or well-care appointments are scheduled visits to your child's healthcare provider that include:

  • A thorough or complete physical exam
  • Growth data to ensure healthy growing trends
  • Screenings for hearing, vision, and other potential health concerns, such as autism
  • Vaccines or immunizations to protect your child from serious and potentially life-threatening diseases
  • Screenings for anxiety and depression (ages 12 and older)
  • Discussing your questions about school performance, social skills, and emotional concerns

Making the Most of Your Visits

Like many parents, you might use online search bars or forums to find answers about your child’s health and well-being – anything from signs of a potential health challenge like asthma to tips for navigating a new behavior, like defiance or withdrawing. These questions, concerns, and even doubts are not just normal – they're exactly the types of topics your child’s doctor can address. That includes questions about your child’s immunization schedule or even a specific vaccine.

Pediatrician Dr. Michael Stargardt "Well-child visits offer a great opportunity to discuss the purpose and safety of vaccinations, explains Michael Stargardt, DO, a Munson Healthcare pediatrician. “There are many sources of information regarding vaccines available to the public, but unfortunately, there is a fair amount of misinformation being circulated. We like to make sure our families feel comfortable with all aspects of their children's health."

Well-visits are also the time to openly share how your child is doing at home – from big milestones to new challenges you’re facing. Don’t be shy about raising questions and even bringing a list of discussion points so you won’t forget to ask them. Topics can include (but are not limited to):

  • Bedtime schedules
  • Feeding or diet
  • Home and car safety
  • Emotional and behavioral health
  • Speech
  • Learning
  • And more

What If My Child is Older?

Child reading eye chart while healthcare provider points at letters As your child grows older, well-child visits may be spaced further apart, but they’re still important. In addition to screening for health concerns more likely to develop in adolescents or teens, this visit can also involve discussing important age-related topics, like vaping, screen time, or new behaviors your unsure about.

How Often Should I Schedule Well-Child Visits?

Your child's healthcare provider will give you a schedule of ages when a well-care visit is suggested. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises the following:

  • Before a newborn is discharged from the hospital, or at 48 to 72 hours of age
  • 3 to 5 days
  • 2 to 4 weeks
  • 2 months
  • 4 months
  • 6 months
  • 9 months
  • 12 months
  • 15 months
  • 18 months
  • 24 months
  • 30 months
  • 3 years
  • 4 years
  • 5 years
  • Each year, between ages 6 and 21

Scheduling Your Next Well-Child Visit

Contact your pediatrician to schedule your child's next well-care visit. If you don’t have a pediatrician, use our Find-a-Doctor tool or call Ask-A-Nurse at 231-935-0951. Our team will help you find a qualified pediatrician near you.

Find A Doctor

If Your Child is Sick

If your child has a non-life-threatening illness or injury and their provider isn’t available, consider Munson Healthcare Virtual Urgent Care. Available for ages 3 and up, our popular virtual urgent care service lets you skip the trip and be seen right from home or wherever you are.

What Virtual Urgent Care Can Treat