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Doctor Visit: The 5-Year Checkup

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As your little ones grow, they will go through a series of checkups to ensure they are developing properly mentally and physically when compared to their age group. The five-year checkup is especially important as this is often the last doctor's appointment before kids head off to school. What can you expect? Read on.

The five-year checkup

Just like any other doctor's appointment, this one will include weighing your child, taking his or her blood pressure and listening to the lungs to check breathing. The pediatrician will also look at your kiddo's eyes and ears with a lighted instrument - this part can be fun for kids or scare them, so make sure you're there to provide moral support if necessary. The doctor will also check your kid's mouth and teeth and ask about dental hygiene. A simple eye test will also be administered, such as having your child identify items on an eye chart across the room. If any issues are presented you will be directed to see an eye doctor for further testing.

The doctor will also check your child's hearing by administering a series of tests that include listening for a tone at specific pitches. Your regular physician may not provide this service but instead send you to an audiologist or other hearing practitioner. It is important for your child to attend this appointment so he or she can be tested for potential hearing issues before beginning to attend school. 

Since your son or daughter will be attending school soon, the doctor might want to talk about bathroom habits. Some kids are embarrassed and feel weird about using the restrooms away from home, which can lead to constipation and accidents at school. If you are concerned about problems like this, mention them to the physician. He or she will let your child know how important it is to use the restroom as needed and not to hold it. 

Mental development

At this appointment, your child may be asked to draw a picture of the human body and identify different body parts. Or, the physician might point to your kid's leg and ask what to call it before moving on to the arm, head, hands and feet. This is not a quiz, per se, but children at this age should know the names of the body parts and may have fun showing their knowledge to such a wise person. 

The doctor is assessing your child's overall development, and may ask some interesting questions while running regular physical tests like checking the ears or seeing how the kid walks. These questions may range from, "Who is your best friend?" to "What is your phone number?" or "Do you know your mommy's name?" These test memory and can show if your little one has speech issues. Children around this age should be capable of following directions with multiple instructions, so the doctor may ask your child to do something for him or her to show this ability. An example would be requesting that your child stand on one foot then hop three times and touch his hand to his nose. It will seem silly but can be very helpful in showing mental development.

Immunizations

A big question many kids have before this appointment is will they have shots? There is no for sure answer on this just because of your child's age, so call ahead to confirm with your doctor if immunizations are necessary. Your kiddo may be up to date and not require any shots, or could need a handful based on upcoming educational requirements.

 
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