Having kids is a wild ride, full of both joys and, unfortunately, worries. One of the main sources of anxiety for parents is usually their kids’ health. While no blog post can be an effective substitute for the advice of a doctor, here are some tips for preventing health issues in your kids and for dealing with any problems they might have as quickly as possible.
1. Listen to your kids
This one might sound obvious, but unfortunately, a lot of parents are quick to dismiss their kids’ health-related complaints. Parents might think that their child is being ‘attention-seeking’ by complaining about pain or other health issues, or that they need to learn to be strong and ‘suck it up’. Some parents might also feel that they are too busy to listen to and deal with their kids’ issues, especially if they have several children and full-time jobs.
While it’s true that young children will often make a big deal about small issues, such as a skinned knee, which doesn’t normally require any more intervention than an antiseptic wipe, a Band-Aid and a bit of comforting, you should always listen to your kids when they tell you that something aches, that they have trouble concentrating in school, that they have been worrying about something, and so on. Get your kid checked out by a pediatrician, who will be able to either treat your child or refer them to a specialist. Don’t be afraid of wasting a doctor’s time—they’d rather check your child out and discover that there’s nothing wrong with them than see a child who has been suffering for weeks because they weren’t listened to, to begin with!
2. Get health insurance
If at all possible, you should get yourself a health insurance plan and add your kids to it as dependents. If you have no way of getting insured, however, remember that you can still access healthcare services when you need them. For instance, Express MRI offers anyone an MRI scan with no need for a doctor’s referral. Don’t skimp on healthcare—it’s better to cut down on something else but make sure that your kids’ health is looked after.
3. Trust your instincts
A useful way to make informed healthcare decisions is to use the BRAIN acronym. This stands for:
- Benefits—what are the benefits of having the intervention? (e.g., taking a certain medication or having a surgical operation)
- Risks—what are the risks associated with having the intervention?
- Alternatives—are there any other ways of achieving the outcome that this intervention would result in? (for instance, a different medication with fewer side effects)
- Intuition—what does your gut instinct tell you that you should do?
- Nothing—what happens if you don’t have any intervention at all, at least for now?
The inclusion of your intuition in this tool is significant. You should always seek medical advice before making a healthcare decision, but once you have been presented with the facts, you should also listen to your gut. If you think your child needs medical care, fight for it, even if it means seeing several healthcare providers.
Listening to your intuition doesn’t give you permission to dismiss your kid’s concerns, however! Always take them to a doctor first and take into account their professional opinion.