Taryn let out a nervous giggle as PediatricCare physician's assistant Sara Wilhelm approached.
"The first thing I'm going to do is tickle your ears!" Wilhelm told her.
Taryn was getting a physical in preparation for the upcoming school year. Wilhelm says the checkups are a perfect chance to check a child's growth and check their bodies over to make sure their heart, lungs and muscles are functioning as they should.
Eyes and ears are also part of the exam. Wilhelm says it's important to spot any issues with vision or hearing as soon as possible as they can interfere with classroom learning.
Wilhelm says a physical should also involve checking a child's growth progress, making sure they're on track, and that they're the appropriate weight for their height.
Seeing the same health care provider every year can help with that. He or she will be familiar with your child, and your child with them. Wilhelm says that will make it easier for a child to discuss any concerns they have with their health care provider. Plus, having an ongoing, permanent record helps the health care provider spot any red flags of potential problems.
Wilhelm says a physical should also go over your child's medical history, as well as any current problems. As kids move into adolescence, she'll also include some time for counseling on issues like peer pressure.