Raise Your Hand
Four types of questions your child can ask their doctor
Research has found that older kids usually have questions about their health, but often don’t feel comfortable speaking up at their doctor visits. Encourage your child to participate in the discussion from a young age. Teens and preteens are more likely to share their thoughts if the doctor speaks with them directly—especially if they feel like their input is valued. Now is a good time to encourage your child to make their own list of questions to ask the doctor, and you may even choose to leave the room, (or the doctor might ask) for part of the visit to allow your child a chance to ask questions in private.
Here are some questions to help your child get their list started, plus brief explanations of why they’re important.
Your first question at any type of visit
Will you keep our conversation private?
Sometimes questions are hard to ask, or even embarrassing. You might even worry about other people finding out what you talked about. But, to borrow another saying, what happens at the doctor’s office stays at the doctor’s office.
Questions about medication
Why do I take this medicine?
How long will I have to take it?
How does it work?
Are there side effects and how long will they last?
While you and your parents can both read the directions and other information on the packaging, it’s good to have these details explained in detail that is easy to understand without all of those medical terms.
Questions for a sick visit
What’s wrong with me?
How long will I have this condition?
Can I give this to someone else? If so, how, and how can I prevent that?
Is there anything I can’t or shouldn’t do while I have this?
Whether you have something simple, like a cold, or a health condition that’ll last for a long time, you deserve to understand what it’s all about. Be sure and ask follow-up questions if you need the doctor to explain further.
Questions for a well visit
Why is this happening to me?
Is this normal?
Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor to explain—in detail that is easy to understand—what’s going on with your body. After all, it’s growing and developing really quickly, and sometimes it can feel like you’re living in someone else’s skin!
Even after the doctor answers your questions, something still may not make sense, or you might feel like your question wasn’t really answered. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for more details, or even ask the doctor to show you on your body or maybe draw you a picture.