Pediatric Health Education: What Every Parent Needs to Know

How to understand social and emotional development, learn to recognize physical development milestones, and get resources and answers for each stage of your child’s growth.

Last Updated: 05/05/2020
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MEET THE EXPERT

Robert Williams
Dr. Robert Williams

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Dr. Robert Williams, MD is a family medicine doctor and geriatrician in Lakewood, Colorado and is a medical advisor for eMediHealth.

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Being a new parent can be the most glorious time in a person’s life. It’s a time of celebration and delight – but it can also be a time of challenges and concerns. From the new parent who wonders “am I doing this right?” to the seasoned parent who wonders if there might be something wrong with their latest bundle of joy, there can be so many questions and not enough answers. This guide help parents of all types and ages – and with kids of all types and ages — understand and address concerns about your child that can keep you up at night.

That said, remember that your child is wonderfully unique. There is no “one size fits all” brand of advice. That’s why this guide is a starting point and should never take the place of discussing your concerns with doctors, caregivers, teachers, or anyone else who plays an important role in your child’s health and life.

Let’s take a look at the health of your little one – from those first days to the days when they are preparing to fly the nest.

Health at Every Age

Though a child’s health changes over time, and there might be specific concerns that pop up occasionally, it pays to be proactive to ensure your child’s in good health. Starting at birth and moving through age 18 (and for some children, even beyond), here are a few of those steps a good parent can take on a regular basis.

Well-child Visits

The well-child visits begin during the first days of life and continue through the age of 18. These visits should happen regularly — depending upon the age of the child — and look at the child’s health when they are in a typical healthy state.

Well-child visits often start with every month or so, then move to every three months, then six months, then once per year. These visits allow a doctor or nurse to examine the child, see how their health has changed in the span of a year, track their weight and height, and look for any changes that might raise flags of concern. Depending upon the age of the child, these visits can include assessments of sight and hearing, demonstrations of the child’s fine and gross motor skills, screenings for certain diseases and developmental milestones, immunizations, and tests tailored to the child’s unique needs.

These visits are vitally important when a child is small and developing fast; however, they are still important during and after puberty, when the child is old enough to visit the doctor alone to discuss their own concerns.

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Well-child Resources

Healthline: Well-Child Visits. 
This page goes over what to expect from a well-child visit, how to choose a doctor, developmental milestones, and more.

Healthy Children: Conditions. 
If you’re nervous about a condition your child might have, this is the place to go for a good information overview.

Milestones Matter: 10 to Watch for By Age 5. 
This gives a good overview of the milestones children are expected to hit by a certain age; if your child is not, mention it to the doctor.

Vaccinations

During the well-child visit, there is a strong emphasis on immunizations. The Centers for Disease Control and the American Medical Association, as well as numerous other science-based and medical-based organizations, point out the importance of vaccines on a regular schedule. As such, the well-child visits often include at least one vaccination until a child reaches the age of three or four. Some of the commonly recommended vaccines include those against polio, measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, hepatitis, and more.

As children become older, other vaccines some into play, such as booster shots (to ensure continuing effectiveness of protection of the vaccines an adolescent received earlier in life) as well as those designed for older children, such as the HPV vaccine that protects against certain cancers. When a young person is ready to move to college, other vaccinations might be required. Certain situations might trigger the need for different vaccinations; for instance, if a child will be traveling out of the country, certain vaccines might be recommended that would not be given during the well-child visit schedule.

There is a great deal of information out there today about vaccines, and some of it can be conflicting. To be certain about vaccine facts, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor any questions you might have.

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Vaccination Resources

CDC Immunization Schedules. 
This page offers a list of current guidelines for immunizations of children and adolescents.

Consumer Reports: Myths and Facts about Vaccines for Children. 
This comprehensive article tackles some of the common myths about vaccines.

Vaccines.gov. 
This government website offers a wealth of unbiased information on vaccines for children, adolescents, and adults.  

Social and Emotional Development

When it comes to developmental milestones, each child is unique, so the ages at which a child should hit these points will vary. However, most children progress to clear points in social and emotional development at certain ages. It’s important to remember that each child grows at their own pace; even among siblings, one child might zoom through milestones quickly, while another takes their sweet time.

Social and emotional development begins at birth. From the earliest days, a newborn is looking around, taking in the surroundings, especially the face of its mother. Fleeting smiles during those early weeks show that the baby is learning that he or she is separate from the environment. As the baby grows, other milestones come fast and furious, such as laughing out loud, smiling at the sight of a favorite person, developing preferences in toys, and even suffering from bouts of separation anxiety when a favorite caregiver leaves the room. If a baby is smiling, playing, and interacting with others and the world around them, they are on the right path.

As a child gets older, the milestones become more complex. At the same time, a child might grow through them by leaps and bounds, astonishing everyone by how much they mature over a short period of time. They begin learning to deal with their emotions, explore what it means to share their toys, discover how to make friends and keep them, try to fit in with their peers, and face worries and challenges that come along with growing into more and more responsibility as they become of an age to handle it.

Keep in mind that while social and emotional development is a strong focus in the early years, it is equally important throughout a child’s life. Social development can be tricky at the middle school ages, when a child is learning to fit in. Emotional development can matter greatly during the teen years, when a child is struggling with grown-up situations and emotions they might not be ready to handle. If at any point your child’s social and emotional well-being concern you, don’t hesitate to talk to a pediatrician – you’ll get either the help your child needs, or you will get peace of mind that everything is just fine after all.

Physical Development and Milestones

Physical milestones help ensure your child is growing properly, right in line with what is expected at that particular age, taking into account any special concerns. Physical milestones in younger children can be very clear, such as when a child abandons crawling and begins to walk. It’s important to note that physical development is much more of a focus in babies and younger children, as this is the age in which problems with that development can be easily spotted and addressed through proper treatment or therapy.

The milestones begin early, from the first days when a baby is learning to focus on faces of others. Then milestones come fast and furious, from kicking and grasping to rolling over to sitting up and laughing. Some children will crawl for a long time; others will skip right over that stage and go straight to cruising and then walking. As a child grows there will be both gross and fine motor skills increasing, such as drinking from a cup, learning how to jump, feeding themselves, and eventually learning how to tie their shoes. Physical development continues throughout the child’s life – and then they hit puberty, which leads to a wide range of new changes that can be frustrating, worrisome, and quite fast.

Does your child seem to be lagging behind in physical milestones? If that’s the case, you’re not alone. According to Stanford Children’s Health, about 17 percent of children have a developmental delay of some kind. The key to dealing with delays is to spot them as soon as they become a concern, and bring the points up with your child’s pediatrician for further evaluation.

Top Parental Concerns and Solutions by Age

Even if parents are diligent about ensuring excellent medical care and are educated on how children grow and develop, there are still other concerns, challenges, worries and issues they are faced with when it comes to their children. These important concerns are a natural part of parenthood, and they persist through the age of 18 and beyond. Here, we’ve looked at the most common issues that pop up in each age group. Keep in mind we can’t cover everything, so there are resources included to get more information on the things that concern you.

Infant: Newborn to 1 year

At this stage, infants are entirely helpless. That can make caring for them even more nerve-wracking, because they can’t tell you what’s wrong! But it won’t take long before you feel like an old pro at figuring out what those cries mean. At this stage you might worry about:

Well-child visits often start with every month or so, then move to every three months, then six months, then once per year. These visits allow a doctor or nurse to examine the child, see how their health has changed in the span of a year, track their weight and height, and look for any changes that might raise flags of concern. Depending upon the age of the child, these visits can include assessments of sight and hearing, demonstrations of the child’s fine and gross motor skills, screenings for certain diseases and developmental milestones, immunizations, and tests tailored to the child’s unique needs.

These visits are vitally important when a child is small and developing fast; however, they are still important during and after puberty, when the child is old enough to visit the doctor alone to discuss their own concerns.

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Infant Resources

10 Steps to Help Prevent SIDS. 
Learn what you can do to help avoid SIDS, including putting your baby to sleep on their back.

Failure to Thrive in Infants. 
This page from Nationwide Children’s Hospital can help parents understand this scary phrase and what it means for their child.

Guide for First Time Parents. 
Everything from bathing to burping is covered in this handy guide from KidsHealth.

Toddler: 1 to 2 Years

Once a baby starts standing up and walking, congratulations – you’ve got a toddler! As that little one toddles its way into the world, there will be new worries, such as:

  • Hitting appropriate milestones. 
    At this point you are likely watching the list of milestones like a hawk, worrying that your child will not hit them on time. In most cases, your child will do just fine. But if there are any concerns, ask the doctor about what you’ve observed.
  • Interacting with other children. 
    At first, you might notice your child doing something called “parallel play” – playing in the same vicinity as other children but not actually interacting with them. There will come a point when your child gets curious and wants to get the attention of those other kids, and that’s when they will begin to take tentative steps toward play. Encourage this by helping your child share toys and talk to others.
  • Learning to speak clearly. 
    As your child begins to talk, it will be cute baby babble – the kind of strange and even funny pronunciations that make you melt when you hear them. But your child’s speech should improve over time. If it doesn’t, or if your child isn’t talking much at all, ask the doctor about it.
  • Keeping them safe during exploration. 
    Over the next few years, your little one will be into everything. And we do mean everything. It’s important to put chemicals, cleaning products, and the like up on high shelves where it’s hard to reach, as well as lock any cabinets that contain things that could be dangerous in a toddler’s hands. Keep an eye on them at all times!
  • Worries about autism. 
    This is the age at which signs of autism might appear. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends screening for autism between the ages of 18 and 24 months, though parents might notice signs a bit earlier or later than that. It’s important to remember that autism and similar disorders require immediate treatments and therapies for the best long-term outcome.

When your child hits this age, life gets even more interesting. Simply hanging out with your child just might become your favorite thing. Watching them discover the world, start to understand what is happening around them, and answering the questions they begin to pose can be quite rewarding.

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Toddler Resources

American Association of Poison Control Centers. 
This valuable website connects parents to professionals who can help them if a child has been poisoned by household products or other chemicals. The number to reach a local center is 1-800-222-1222.

Autism Spectrum Disorder. 
This comprehensive page from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia offers a wealth of information on autism and related disorders.

Pediatric Health and Safety Guide
This guide gives great advice on how to keep your child safe as they explore the world around them.

Toddler: 2 to 3 Years

Now the little one is becoming a not-so-little one, and that includes injecting some attitude into everyday life. This is the age of “No!” and “I’ll do it myself!” but also the age of “I love you!” Here’s what might concern you now:

  • Potty training. 
    Some kids are ready for toilet training at as little as 18 months; others take until they’re four or even five before it feels right for them. While some parents might have the luxury of allowing their child to choose when the time is right, others will need to push the toilet training early, especially if the daycare or school won’t accept a child who can’t attend to the bathroom themselves.
  • Social development. 
    This is the point where the little ones begin to notice other kids. They might still participate in parallel play – playing in the same area with other children but not interacting much – but their play might also expand to bring in others. This is a fantastic milestone!
  • Basic skills.
    As a child begins to master fine motor skills, look to various household items to help them build those skills. Ask them to pull up zippers, open simple locks, manipulate an object to turn it upside down, and more. Anything you can think of to get that brain engaged and those hands working is allowing them to make important connections.  
  • Dental health. 
    Now is the time to take that little one to the dentist. Not only does this help ensure all is well with dental health, it also helps the child get accustomed to the dentist and all the tools and equipment that they will encounter in the office. These early visits can help alleviate fears of the dentist later in life.
  • Stranger danger. 
    At this stage, children might be curious about strangers, and can’t necessarily tell who is a friend. It’s important to watch your child closely, and teach them that it’s okay to talk to strangers as long as a parent or other trusted adult is present. While it’s important to push for safety, you don’t want to spark fears in your child. That can be a fine line to walk, so get advice from your doctor about how to handle it.

Your child is making tentative steps into the bigger world now, and it’s easy to see how fleeting these formative years can be. Now is the time to soak it all up into your memory. Keep a journal, take pictures galore, and make recordings of that little voice with all the adorable mispronunciations. Take steps to teach your child about the world – watch their eyes light up at the zoo, or watch them enjoy the festivities during a fall festival.

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Toddler Resources

Playground Safety Tips. 
This page from the AAP provides plenty of information for parents who are concerned about their child playing on large playground equipment.

Preventing and Identifying Child Sexual Abuse. 
Keeping your child safe is of utmost importance, and this guide from the AAP will help you do that.

Tips on Starting Potty Training. 
Everybody wants to get this done, so dive right into these tips to get started.

Preschooler: 3 to 5 Years

Welcome to a new kind of milestone: The start of school! To say it’s a bittersweet moment is an understatement. Here’s what concerns go along with this phase:

  • Screen time. 
    Kids are fascinated by anything moving on a screen – and who can blame them? It’s important for parents to set limits on screen time so kids can still have the time to play with their toys, get outside, get dirty, and otherwise simply be a child. Allow some screen time for educational purposes but also go “dark” for a while every day.
  • Nutrition. 
    Welcome to picky eating! At this age, kids are notorious for choosing only a few foods and sticking with those, no matter how appealing you might try to make other choices. It can make you worry whether your child is getting enough vitamins – or enough food, period. But as long as they are still growing and being their active, bouncy selves, they are likely just fine. If you’re not sure, bring it up with the doctor at the next visit.
  • Playdates. 
    Get your child together with others his age for playdates at the park, a local gym that caters to children, or other fun places where they can interact and enjoy getting to know each other. Playdates are also a great way for parents to spend some time together and talk about what’s happening in their lives, so this is a good activity for you, too.
  • Learning to read and write. 
    Your little one is now probably able to recognize their name, scribble a few drawings, and otherwise show they are ready for more. Help them by giving them words on a sheet of paper to copy with their crayons, and read to them every night before bed (and any other time you get the chance!). These early lessons will hold them in good stead as they start school.
  • Transitioning into school. 
    Moving into preschool can be tough for a child. It can be nerve-wracking to be away from home, even for a few brief hours each day. It can be even tougher for parents, who see this as a huge step in their child growing up. Always stay positive and happy as your child makes this leap, even if you’re feeling bittersweet about the big change.

On one hand, screen time is a big concern for parents; on the other, now the child is old enough to sit down and enjoy an animated movie or watch an educational television show, which can be fun for the parents too. Teaching a child to read and write, or otherwise see them learn new ideas like a sponge soaking up water, can be quite satisfying.

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Preschooler Resources (H4)

A Smooth Start. 
Adjusting to preschool can be tough for kids and adults. Here’s what you need to know to make the transition easier.

Children and Media Tips. 
This page from the AAP acknowledges children are growing up in a digital world, and helps parents set healthy boundaries.

Nutrition for Toddlers. 
This list of articles from Nutrition.gov can help parents visualize what should be on their child’s plate, and help them figure out how to deal with picky eaters.

Tips for Transitioning to Preschool and Kindergarten. 
This list of tips is a must-read for parents who are worried about sending their kid off to school for the first time.

Middle Childhood: 6 to 8 Years

At this point children have met the more important physical milestones and now it’s all about the ongoing emotional and social development. At this age, they are starting to understand more about the world around them, and that world is not always pretty. Here’s what might concern you:

  • Bullying. Being targeted by a bully used to be considered a rite of passage, but it’s a true problem that is getting broader attention. According to Do Something, bullying can lead to lower grades, skipped classes, and a negative influence on what kids think of themselves. Counter bullying by offering positive reinforcement and encouragement, and counsel your child to report bullying when it happens to them or their friends.
  • Learning to play on teams. Up until this point, many kids have been able to choose their own path when it comes to playing with friends. But when they join an organized team sport, they must learn to play by someone else’s rules. This is great for kids to learn to take turns, try their best, encourage others, and get a feel for the idea of “team” versus the idea of “me.”
  • Discussions about world events. At this point kids are becoming much more aware of the “bigger picture” around them, including events that might be frightening. It’s important to answer all their questions and approach discussions of difficult topics with openness and candor, but at the same time, reassure them as best you can. Children will look to you for guidance on how to act, so always present a calm and reasoned attitude.
  • Staying safe at friends’ houses. Now is the time when kids will start venturing out into the world for sleepovers and playdates at other kids’ houses. Make sure they understand things like avoiding drugs and alcohol, gun safety, how to get in touch with you immediately if necessary, and anything else that concerns you.
  • Exercise and nutrition. At this point, your child has a great deal of control over what they choose to eat. They make choices at school, when out with friends, and probably at home, too. They also can make the choice to exercise more – or not. Encourage them to get in enough exercise and make the right food choices to stay healthy.

Your child is now asking “why” in a way they didn’t before, and paying attention to the answers. Now is the time to explore things that your child is interested in, and even the things that intrigue you, too. Visits to museums, historical sites, points of interest, and unique events can be the name of the game at this stage, which is fun for everyone!

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Middle Childhood (6-8 Years) Resources

Helping Kids Maintain a Healthy Body Weight. 
This insightful page offers tips on how to help a kid make the right choices in food and exercise.

StopBullying.gov. 
This comprehensive site offers helpful tips and resources for parents and students.

Talking to Children about Tragedies and Other News Events. 
This resource gives parents a touchstone at which to begin the difficult discussions about what kids see in the news today.

Middle Childhood: 9 to 11 Years

Just as things seemed to be smooth sailing for your child, they hit a bump: middle school. As you might recall, that was a tough time for most, and it might be tough for your kid too. Here are some things to think about:

  • Learning to fit in. 
    At this age, kids are trying to learn their place in the world, and that’s not easy when they are surrounded by cliques and groups that sometimes exclude them. Learning to fit in with peers and find their place can be daunting, but you can keep reassuring them that they will find the right friends and groups of people to keep them happy.
  • Mood swings of puberty. 
    We’re all familiar with the whiplash mood swings of puberty, but it can be unnerving – and frustrating – to deal with your child going through it. One minute they’re happy, the next they are angry, the next they are crying. The best you can do is roll with the waves as they come, and reassure your child (and yourself) that this is part of growing up, and it will pass.
  • Facing tough situations. 
    Sometimes kids will go through difficult issues, such as the loss of a friend or family member, the loss of a beloved pet, or even suffer in a broader disaster, such as a school shooting. It’s important to keep the lines of communication open. Talk to your child as honestly as you can, and be ready with help from a counselor if necessary.
  • Dental health. 
    At this point many, if not all, of the permanent teeth have come in. That means a kid might have some issues with those teeth, such as needing braces to straighten them or needing some instruction on dental hygiene. Regular dental visits are great but you can help at home by reminding them to brush and floss.
  • Peer pressure. 
    When a kid is offered a cigarette, will they take it? How about that sip of alcohol? Or maybe they are pushed to do something entirely different, such as pulling a prank on a teacher or cutting class. Peer pressure can be intense; it’s important to remind your child that they are responsible for their actions. Teach them to seek out positive peer pressure from friends who want to see them succeed.

At this age your child is filled with questions about the things that matter most to them, and they are likely still at a point of coming to you first with those questions. Take advantage of it! Talk to your child about everything. Introduce them to new foods, ideas, places, people, and things. Make them your travel buddy and give them all sorts of different perspectives on life. You’re helping mold the generous, kind, and curious person your child will grow up to be.

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Middle Childhood (9-11 Years) Resources

Back to School Tips on Handling Bullying.
It happens at every age during the school years. Help your child learn how to combat it.

Peer Pressure. 
Learn how to talk to your child about it, tips to make sure it’s positive rather than negative, and how to cope when it gets rough.

The Stages of Puberty: Development in Girls and Boys. 
This is a great way to sit down with your child and discuss the changes happening in their body.

Teen Dental Health. 
This website features numerous articles recommended by the American Dental Association specifically for teens.

Pre-Teen & Young Teen: 12 to 14 Years

Becoming a teenager means all sorts of things are changing, not only in a child’s body and mind, but in the world around them. How can you help them through it? Here are some concerns to think about.

  • Sports related injuries. 
    Kids at this age are often engaged in organized sports, and they can get quite competitive. Unfortunately, that can also mean injuries. Talk to your kids about staying safe, such as wearing a helmet and other protective gear, even when they don’t want to do so. And let them know that any injury needs to be looked at immediately, even if they think it’s okay or they will just “walk it off.”
  • Social media. 
    We all know social media is a potential minefield, but a lot of kids at this age don’t know how damaging it can be to run into online bullies, trolls, and others who will target them from the anonymity of social media. Talk to your child about what emboldens the negativity on the web, and help them with strategies to avoid it.
  • Puberty. 
    Their body is changing rapidly now, and their emotions and thoughts are likely all over the place. These changes can be embarrassing, and they can make a child wonder who they really are. The best thing you can do to support your child is to always listen without judgment, keep the lines of communication open, and offers pertinent books or articles that make them feel less alone in the journey.  
  • Self-esteem worries.
    This age is filled with questions. Do I look at good as my peers? Do I get as good grades as they do? Do they like me? Does anyone like me? What can I do to make myself stand out – or make myself blend in? At some point rejection might occur, and self-esteem can take a mighty hit. Remind your child that this will pass – even though to them, it might feel like nothing will get better, reassure them that it will.
  • Questions about sexuality. 
    As their bodies change and they begin to explore, they might begin to question their sexuality. It is vitally important to remember that your child is your child – period. No matter who they are, what their sexual orientation is, or how their body and thoughts will change, they need your understanding, attention, and love.

Though these years can sometimes seem challenging, they are also filled with promise. Your child is learning new things about themselves and the world, and you get a front row seat to watch them go from a child to an adult. It can be bittersweet sometimes, but ultimately, the pride you feel as you watch them grow up can be enough to take your breath away.

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Young Teen Resources

How Can I Improve My Self-Esteem? 
This short guide can help kids understand self-esteem and why they feel the way they do.

Sports Injury Prevention Tips. 
Learn how to help kids avoid injury when playing organized sports – or just playing in the backyard.

Talking to Kids and Teens about Social Media and Sexting. 
Learn to help your kids handle social media in a mature, careful manner.

Teenagers: 15 to 18 Years

As teenagers get older, they often become a bit defiant, or you might have trouble communicating with them. It can be tough to find your own way in the world, and that’s what these kids are facing. Here’s how you can help with some of the major concerns.

  • Beginning to date. 
    Those first dates can be more nerve-wracking for the parents than they are for the child! It’s important to talk with your child about sexual issues, drinking and driving, and how to get help if they find themselves in trouble. A well-prepared child will have much more fun on a date, and you will be much calmer about the whole situation.
  • Drugs and alcohol. 
    This is the age where some kids experiment with alcohol, and a few might go further and experiment with drugs. Talk to your kids about the effects of alcohol and drugs, explain the legal ramifications, and make sure they know they can come to you with any questions or worries about what their friends are doing.
  • Mental health issues. 
    For many people, mental health issues arise during the teenage years. Depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and other concerns might pop up at this point, so it’s important to watch your child’s behavior. If things suddenly seem “off” or your child seems to act in ways that match the symptoms of mental illness, get to a counselor as soon as possible.
  • Grades and colleges. 
    At this point teenagers are starting to think about what life will be like when they fly the nest, and for many, that includes college. Their grades are a concern, because they have to make the good ones to get into the college of their choice. They might also be concerned about finances, and know they need scholarships and loans to make it work. Go with them to the guidance counselor to talk about options.
  • Becoming sexually active. 
    Your child is more of an adult now, and along with that comes more mature feelings and desires. Don’t be afraid to address the subject of sex and relationships. Talk to them about preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Be as open as you can be, even when it feels awkward. Your child will be much better off with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions.

And don’t forget: at this age, your child is becoming an adult, and learning to have in-depth conversations with you. Your child’s personality truly shines through now. Watching them go through the typical teenager issues – just as you did when you were their age – can bring you closer together. Keep the lines of communication open!

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Teenager Resources

Healthy Tips for the College Freshman. 
Though your child might not be a freshman just yet, these tips are still quite timely.

Mental Health Tips for Teens Graduating from High School. 
This is an exciting yet tough time. These tips can help teens stay on an even keel while the world changes around them.

Talking to Teens: Suicide Prevention. 
This page can help you open the lines of communication with troubled teens and keep them safe.

Children’s Health Q&A with Dr. Robert Williams

Dr. Robert Williams, MD is a family medicine doctor and geriatrician in Lakewood, Colorado and is a medical advisor for eMediHealth

What are some of the main concerns you hear when parents come into your office?

Parents are usually concerned about food consumption, academic status, social issues, and sports injuries.

What’s your best advice for a parent concerned about their child’s development?

The best advice I give is to make sure family time is paramount. Eating meals together is priority. Setting a firm but not unreasonable structure is important.  Children strive for structure and can’t thrive without it. Make sure the physician explains growth charts and immunization schedules. That’s about all you have to worry about in infancy.

What are some of your most important tips on when parents should bring their young children or babies to the doctor?

I advise parents to bring babies to the doctor when they are sick enough that they aren’t taking liquids. Babies are quite resilient and can get through many sicknesses. The biggest danger is usually dehydration. Also, if the child is acting listless, different in personality, or uninterested in playing or other things that usually bring joy.

What are some tips for parents to keep their new babies as healthy as possible?

Keeping your baby as healthy as possible is not complicated. Set up feeding schedules, keep regular doctor appointments, don’t sanitize the world for them, and pay attention to the growth charts. Over feeding can also be a health risk.

Anything else you’d like to add to calm worried parents?

Make sure your child is vaccinated! Don’t bathe them in Purell. Let them play and get dirty. Allow them to enjoy things that captivate their interest and don’t interrupt them when they’re in the “zone.”

Make your children a delight for others around them. Teaching them to be respectful around adults makes adults want to be around them and then they will be further socialized in a healthy way by others. If your child is regarded as a brat and not welcomed socially, it is truly the child who is hurt in the end.