In this day and age, keeping kids healthy can be a bit of a challenge. A naturopathic doctor can help.
Kids Should be Healthy
Think back to the last time you felt completely healthy. When you had boundless energy. When all was right with the world. If you’re like most people, you’re remembering what it was like to be a kid.
Kids tend to be healthy – and happy. Some of us are born with health challenges, or experience them right off the bat. Generally speaking, though, childhood is the healthiest time of our life.
It’s hard to say exactly what the healthiest age is, or when things start to go downhill. We start losing muscle mass after age 25. Energy can start declining after age 20. For women, fertility peaks around age 16. But for many children, health can start declining much earlier in life.
Regular naturopathic visits, beginning early in childhood, can help prevent or manage many of the health issues that are beginning to affect children.
Adult Diseases in Childhood?
Depression and anxiety. Insomnia and fatigue. Joint pain. Ulcers. Weight gain. High blood sugar. Heart disease. These are conditions that used to be considered exclusive to older adults, but are now becoming more and more common in childhood. Type 2 diabetes, caused by high blood sugar, used to be called ‘adult onset diabetes’ – but so many children are developing it, they’ve had to change the name.
Although genetic susceptibility plays a role, these chronic illnesses are caused almost exclusively by our modern lifestyle. They are burdens that no parent wants for their child, but that are increasing in spite of our best intentions.
Conventional Medicine Doesn’t Keep Kids Healthy
If you feel powerless to change the trajectory of your child’s health, you aren’t alone. Our modern healthcare system was created to deal with emergencies, and save lives. It was designed before chronic illnesses became commonplace, and preventing them was not on the list of priorities.
That’s where naturopathic medicine can come in. Holistic healthcare, beginning with your naturopathic doctor, can help you put your children on a path to optimal health for the rest of their lives.
Keeping Healthy Kids Healthy: Well Child Checks
If your child is healthy, wonderful! That’s the way it should be. And one way to keep them that way, is Well Child Checks.
A Well Child Check is what it sounds like: a check-up for your child, when he or she is well. Here in Canada, after infancy, family doctors generally don’t see their patients – except for vaccinations – unless something is wrong. Naturopathic doctors, on the other hand, prefer to prevent things from going wrong in the first place. In order to focus on optimizing health, your naturopath needs to see your child when he or she is well, not dealing with an emergency situation.
How often should I schedule well child checks?
The frequency of well child checks can vary, depending on the age and needs of your child, but once or twice per year is probably the minimum.
What age should I start bringing my child in for well child checks?
The answer is, as early as possible! Naturopathic doctors treat children of all ages – even before birth. Having a professional monitor your child from a young age is the absolute best way to head off health concerns before they happen.
Expecting? Your naturopath can provide prenatal guidance, taking into account your own health history, to give your child the healthiest possible start in life.
Infancy is often a challenging time. Bringing in baby as soon as you’re able can give your naturopath a chance to check on baby’s health, as well as yours, answer any questions you may have, and – especially for new mothers – give you an idea of what to expect in the next few months.
Early childhood is the time of runny noses, coughs, and colds galore! Well child checks at this time can help keep your child’s immune system as healthy as possible. This is also the time when asthma, allergies, and tummy aches tend to strike. A naturopath can help you manage many of these concerns naturally.
School-age children face their own special challenges. Growing up isn’t easy, and these years are crucial for ensuring your child enters adulthood healthy, confident, and empowered to make healthy choices on his own.
If your child has never had a well child check, now is the time to start.
What happens at a well-child check?
At a well child check, your ND will ask questions of both you and your child about his or her health (past and current), growth, diet, physical activity, and social life. She will do some basic physical exams, such as measuring your child’s height and weight, to make sure he or she is in a healthy range. She will let you know whether she sees any warning signs, if any bloodwork is necessary, what changes (if any) she would suggest, and what to look out for in the coming months.
How can a well child check keep my kid healthy?
A well child check allows your naturopath to detect early warning signs of any health issues that may arise. When these can be dealt with early, it is usually much easier to avoid any long-term problems. For example, detecting blood sugar that is above optimal can allow us to make changes early on, possibly preventing a lifetime of struggling with diabetes. Identifying stressors early on can help prevent the development of anxiety, depression, and panic attacks.
Regular well child checks also ensure that your naturopath knows your child well. This can help her identify when something is wrong, and choose the right treatment for your child when he or she needs it, without going through a lengthy intake appointment first.
I have more than one child: can I bring them in together?
Absolutely! Initial well child intakes are usually lengthy (60-90 minutes), so one at a time is recommended, but families are welcome to attend appointments together. After your children’s initial appointments, well child checks can be much shorter (30-45 minutes), so coming together and doing them back to back is more doable.
I have an older child – should I be in the room?
When a parent should or should not be in the room during a well child check is left up for each family to decide. You can choose to be in the room for all of your child’s appointment, part of it, or none of it. It depends on your child’s age, maturity, and comfort level with you or on her own, as well as your own preference.
Booking With Dr. C.M. Gibson, ND
If your family lives in Thunder Bay or Terrace Bay, you can book an initial well child check (Intake) at Cornerstone Clinic or Wellness Lab. Your intake appointment will be 80-90 minutes in length, and many questions will be directed to the parent(s), so you may want to bring something to keep your child occupied for some of the time.
If you are living anywhere between Thunder Bay and Terrace Bay, you can always request a house call.
If you are outside of these areas, Dr. Gibson can see you virtually, anywhere in Ontario. An occasional in-person visit is helpful – especially at first – but many concerns can be managed online.