Children exhibit all kinds of interesting behaviors. Many of these behaviors are normal boundary testing, showing independence, and other healthy milestones you want to see.
Children can also exhibit behaviors you don’t want to see, like aggressiveness, sadness, and fear. Your pediatrician is an expert on child development and can help you with your child’s behavioral health.
First let’s look at normal behaviors you want to see. These include:
- Defiance, because your child may be testing boundaries and exerting independence
- Withdrawing, because your child needs to show autonomy, and wants to accomplish things without your help
- Acting out, because your child may be reacting to major changes in life, like moving to a new school, divorce, or death of a close family member
Now, let’s look at behaviors that could be warning signs of a behavioral disorder. These include:
- Threatening or harming others, pets, or themselves
- Damaging possessions belonging to others
- Having difficulty forming or keeping relationships with others
- Showing frequent signs of unhappiness or depression
- Demonstrating anxiety about going to school
- Exhibiting defiance and hostility toward authority figures
- Frequently lying, arguing, stealing, or skipping school
- Using drugs, drinking, or smoking at an early age
If you notice any of the signs or symptoms listed above, it’s time for a behavioral health evaluation from your child’s pediatrician.
When you bring your child in for a visit with the pediatrician, a complete medical examination is necessary to make sure there are no underlying medical conditions which may be causing your child’s behavior or making it worse. Your pediatrician may also request additional testing including lab work and other studies.
Your pediatrician will develop a treatment plan designed to help with your child’s behavior. Treatment may include:
- Individual, group, and family counseling
- Lifestyle modification including diet and exercise
- Medication if necessary to modify behavior
- Additional specialty care with a child psychologist
Your child’s behavioral health is just as important as physical health. You want the best for your child, so call your pediatrician today.
Need help controlling your child’s asthma symptoms? Your pediatrician can help.
We know that seeing your child cough, wheeze and have trouble taking a full breath can be more than a little scary, but it’s essential to know that your pediatrician can provide your child with a custom asthma treatment plan that helps get their symptoms under control. Your pediatrician can provide your child with the care and treatment they need to lead rich, healthy lives without being at the mercy of their asthma symptoms.
So, how will your child's doctor treat their asthma?
First, We’ll Create an Action Plan
Your pediatrician can provide you and your child with the adequate asthma control needed to avoid missed school days, sleepless nights and trips to the hospital. Your pediatrician can create a customized action plan just for your child. This action plan is designed to help you and your child get better control over their symptoms.
This plan will have specific instructions on ways to manage your child’s asthma and what to do when symptoms flare up, so you are never confused about what to do when your child starts to notice symptoms or if their symptoms worsen.
Next, We’ll Prescribe Medication
In most cases, your children’s doctors will prescribe two medications to manage childhood asthma. The medications and doses prescribed by your pediatrician will depend on the severity and frequency of your child’s symptoms. The two most commonly used asthma medications include,
- Controlled medication: This is something your child will take every day, even if they feel fine. This medication helps prevent inflammation in the airways and reduces the risk of an attack.
- Fast-acting medication: Even though controlled medication can significantly reduce airway inflammation and the likelihood of attacks, sometimes triggers such as exercise or stress can still exacerbate your child’s asthma symptoms. When you notice the very beginnings of a flare-up, your child must take this fast-acting medication to alleviate symptoms quickly.
We May Recommend a Flu Shot
If your child has ever had to deal with the flu before, you know from firsthand experience that asthma and the flu do not mix! The flu virus can exacerbate asthma symptoms and lead to more severe complications such as pneumonia. This is why your pediatrician may encourage you to get your child vaccinated against the flu every year.
When your child begins school, it’s time for your child to begin having school physicals by a pediatrician. School physicals are a great way to help ensure the continuing health of your child. They should be performed every year to make sure your child stays healthy.
Regular school physicals can help identify, prevent, and treat acute and chronic diseases including allergies, asthma, heart issues, and more. When medical issues are identified early, your child has a chance to regain health before school begins.
During your child’s school physical, your pediatrician will:
- Perform a comprehensive physical examination
- Check your child’s respiration, eyes, nose, throat, and ears
- Perform a vision and hearing screening
- Record your child’s height, weight, blood pressure, pulse, and temperature
Immunizations are another vitally important part of your child’s school physical. In fact, immunizations are required for your child to attend school. You must also show proof that your child is current on immunizations. Your pediatrician can give you the documentation you need.
According to the Centers for Disease Control or CDC, recommended and required immunizations from birth to age 18 are:
- Hepatitis B
- Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis
- Haemophilus influenza type B
- Pneumococcal conjugate
- Measles, mumps, rubella
- Hepatitis A
- Human papillomavirus
- Meningococcal conjugate
If your child wants to play a sport, a sports physical may be combined with the school physical. A sports physical helps determine whether your child is healthy enough to play a sport.
During a sports physical, your pediatrician will also check your child’s balance, reflexes, flexibility, muscle strength, and breathing, to determine how your child might react while under physical stress.
Schools, sports, and exposure to other students provide a breeding ground for illness. Regular school and sports physicals, immunizations, and early treatment can help your child stay healthy during the school years and beyond. To find out more about school physicals, call your pediatrician today.
Find out more about well-child checkups and why they are crucial for your child’s health.
From the moment your baby is born, you want to give them everything. You also want to ensure they have everything they need to grow up healthy and strong. That’s where well-child visits come in. These checkups with your pediatrician allow them to check up and monitor your child’s health when they are growing fast and reaching one developmental milestone after another. These well-child visits help your child stay healthy and detect issues early on.
But My Child Is Healthy. Do They Still Need a Checkup?
Pediatrician visits aren’t just for sick kids. In fact, healthy children still need to visit their pediatrician regularly for wellness checkups to ensure they stay healthy. After all, these visits are the best way for your child’s medical team to monitor their health and development and catch problems early on. During your child’s well-child checkup, your pediatrician will evaluate your child’s health, growth and development.
How Often Do Wellness Checkups Occur?
How often your child visits their pediatrician will depend on their age. While you can easily find the American Academy of Pediatrics’ well-child care visit schedule online, for easy reference, your child should come in for a wellness checkup at,
- Three-five days old
- One month old
- Two months old
- Four months old
- Six months old
- Nine months old
- 12 months old
- 15 months old
- 24 months old
- 30 months old
- Three years old
Once your child reaches three years old, they only need to come in once a year for wellness checkups.
What Is Involved in a Wellness Checkup?
When your child comes into their pediatrician’s office, they will first check and record their height, weight and vital signs (e.g., heart rate; blood pressure). Your pediatrician will also go through your child’s medical history and family history to understand their current health and any preexisting conditions.
From there, your pediatrician will perform a comprehensive physical evaluation of your child, checking everything from reflexes and nerve function to the heart and lungs. During these wellness checkups, your pediatrician may also administer certain vaccines to keep your child safe and healthy and perform additional screenings such as hearing, vision and behavioral screenings to check for vision or hearing loss, ADHD or other behavioral problems.
A pediatrician isn’t here just to provide sick care to children; they are also here to provide preventive care such as well-child visits to support your child’s optimal health to prevent illnesses and injuries. Call your pediatrician to schedule your child’s next well-child visit.
Is your child acting up? Here’s how a pediatrician can help.
Poor grades, fighting with others, lashing out at parents—If you find yourself dealing with these issues, no doubt you’re concerned about your child’s behaviors. Whether the teachers have complained or you’ve seen these issues in your household, it’s essential to address these concerns with your pediatrician.
Pediatricians and Behavioral Health
While a pediatrician is there to provide your child with medical care, which means that they are focused on physical health, that doesn’t mean they can’t recognize behavioral, mental or emotional issues. Since pediatricians often spend the most time with your children and have seen them grow up through the years, they are often the first to spot problems. That’s why you must have a long-standing pediatrician you know and trust.
When to Be Concerned
It’s natural for a child to be sad when they get sick or lose something important to them or a date with a friend gets postponed; however, if your child is dealing with recurring emotional and behavioral issues that are impacting their daily life, well-being and routine, then it may be time to speak with your pediatrician. Behavioral health concerns that may require a further evaluation with a pediatrician include,
- Anger and irritability
- Outbursts and temper tantrums
- Defying adults and acting out
- Harmful behavior, whether harming themselves or others
- Avoiding social interactions
- Trouble focusing and a drop in academic performance
- Changes in mood
- Sadness or hopelessness that lasts more than two weeks
- Thoughts of suicide
- Stealing, lying and other risky behaviors
How a Pediatrician Can Help
There are many factors a pediatrician will take into account when a child comes in for a behavioral health assessment. Certain factors include,
Any changes to your child’s environment could impact their behavioral health, leading to these problematic behaviors and habits. It’s essential to take all aspects and factors into account so that we can provide the proper diagnosis and treatment plan to help manage behavioral issues. From learning disabilities and separation anxiety to autism and ADHD, a pediatrician can help your child cope with many behavioral health problems.
Yes, kids will be kids, but that doesn’t mean you should let recurring or problematic behaviors slide. If you are concerned about your child’s behavioral health, it’s time you turned to a pediatrician to discuss behavioral health options.
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