Well Child Visit: 3-Year Checkup

Three-year-olds are great fun to bring in for a checkup. They're so curious about what's going on and eager to cooperate. They love to report their name and age and tell the doctor or nurse about their life. They're also interested in their bodies, and aren't as defensive about them as many 2-year-olds are. Try not to come in at naptime or on a completely empty tummy; no one will get the best out of the experience.

At This Visit, Your Provider Will Probably:

Weigh and measure your child. In addition to the usual weighing and measuring, your healthcare provider may add a few new elements:

  • Your child's blood pressure will be checked from now on.
  • Your provider will ask him questions and give him instructions. Don't try to help your child — the provider is interested in his response. Stay in the room and near him as reassurance, but see how much he can handle on his own.
  • Your provider will test your child's vision and hearing (until now, your child probably has had eye and ear tests only if you or your provider suspected a problem). Let your provider know if there is a family history of early vision or hearing problems.
  • Some providers check urine samples. Let your provider know if urinating is painful for your child, if he dribbles or can't hold his urine, or if he's gone back to wetting after being toilet trained.
  • Your child may be asked to make a drawing, which provides helpful information about your child's development and well-being. You may want to bring in some of his creations from home, too.

Your Provider Will Want To Know:

  • Has your child seen another healthcare provider since the last visit? If so, why? What was the outcome of that visit, and were any medications or treatments prescribed?
  • Does your child jump, kick a ball, or ride a tricycle or other toddler-style three-wheel bike?
  • Does he know his name?
  • Can he play well with other kids?
  • Have his tantrums increased?

Talk It Over

  • If your child is in day care or preschool, the teachers there may have mentioned concerns. Talk these over with your provider.
  • If your child hasn't been in day care or preschool yet and you're considering enrolling her, your provider may be able to give you some guidance on finding a good program.
  • If grandparents or other relatives have mentioned any concerns about your child, discuss them with your provider.
  • Let your provider know if your child seems to be having problems eating or sleeping. If she snores or coughs at night, ask what to do about it.
  • Tell your provider if you are on a special diet, such as vegetarian or low cholesterol. Your provider can help you ensure that your growing child and the whole family get the proper nutrition.
  • Discuss where your child is with toilet training. Mention if there has been any backsliding on this issue. You may need some guidance.
  • If you're having trouble with discipline, discuss it now.

Speak Up

The following items are of special concern, so be certain to tell your healthcare provider if your child:

  • Isn't speaking in real sentences or asking questions using the "w" words (who, what, where, when, and why).
  • Isn't following stories or showing any interest in books.
  • Always stands too close to the TV or likes the volume turned way up.
  • Has a lot of difficulty separating from you.
  • Isn't really interacting with other kids in a group setting.
  • Isn't happy most of the time.
  • Doesn't know her name and age.

Also be sure to mention:

  • If a household member or someone who has frequent contact with your child has tuberculosis, hepatitis, or other serious infectious diseases. Your child may need testing or treatment.
  • If there's been an outbreak of diarrhea or any contagious disease in her school or daycare center, or at your office. Your child may need special tests or vaccines.
  • If there has been any major change in your family or circumstances.
  • If you have no health insurance for your child.
Well-child checkups

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