3 Reasons to Schedule Your 11-Year Well Check as Soon as Possible

Adolescence is a time of major changes mentally, physically, and socially. Most 11-year-olds are preparing to transition to middle school, developing a sense of independence, experimenting with new things, and dealing with a wide array of emotions. We want to be there for you and your child as a resource for accurate and timely information and an advocate for your child’s health and well-being. Here are 3 major reasons why your child’s 11-year-old well-check is vital to becoming a healthy teen and adult and needs to be scheduled as soon as your child turns 11:

Immunizations necessary for disease prevention and middle school entry are due at age 11.

Tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap), Human papillomavirus (HPV), and Meningitis vaccines are given at age 11. Because the HPV series takes at least 6 months to complete (2 shots 6 months apart) and the Tdap and Meningitis vaccines are required before starting middle school it’s important to schedule your 11-year-old check as early as possible in your child’s 11th year. These vaccines are safe and effective when given on the same day and when given with seasonal flu vaccines. (The HPV vaccine can be given as early as 9 years if needed).

Adolescent well visits are different than well-child visits: a time to respect privacy and encourage independence

Starting in adolescence, your pediatrician will see you and your child together, spend time alone with your child, and then invite you back into the room to answer questions and make recommendations.  One-on-one time with a pediatrician helps build a trusting doctor-patient relationship and gives your adolescent confidence in his/her ability to take responsibility for their health. Be aware that according to NC law, your adolescent can share confidential information with his/her pediatrician regarding mental health, sexuality, and drug use. In general, we can only discuss this information with you if we have your child’s permission, however, if we discover conditions that pose life-threatening health risks we can discuss them with you. Rest assured that we encourage your child to share confidential information with you. Sometimes teens and adolescents want to share private information or discuss awkward subjects with their parents but don’t know how. Your pediatrician can help.

Your child’s body and mind are changing rapidly and the 11-year well-check screening can help detect problems early so intervention can take place before the stress of starting middle school.

At the 11-year-old visit, in addition to a thorough physical exam, your pediatrician will discuss or screen for

  • scoliosis
  • anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts
  • hearing and vision
  • cholesterol screening if indicated
  • puberty
  • screentime and social media use habits
  • exercise and nutrition
  • sleep quality
  • dental care
  • sexual health and drug use risk reduction
  • school success
  • stress and bullying
  • personal safety including seatbelts and helmets
  • Personal strengths and emotional support systems

Because teens and adolescents are more likely to share detailed health information with their pediatrician when their parents are not in the room, we often discover treatable health issues that parents are not yet aware of or are just starting to suspect. The best treatment is prevention and early intervention.

Be sure to schedule your child’s 11-year well check as early as possible after their 11th birthday to ensure timely vaccination, promote your child’s confidence and independence, and provide ample opportunity for prevention and early intervention. We look forward to seeing you and your adolescent!

Schedule early for the best selection of dates and times. 919-460-0993