What Age Should a Child Switch From Pediatrician to Family Doctor?

professional pediatrician with teddy bear

This question cannot be answered simply because it is dependent on so many different variables. While some children may transition to a family doctor at an earlier age, others may continue to visit a pediatrician until they are 18 years old. It is crucial to consult with your child’s physician to figure out when would be the ideal moment to make the move.

What is the Difference Between a Family Doctor and a Pediatrician?

While A family doctor is a physician who specializes in the health of people and families a pediatrician is a trained doctor who focuses on infant, child, and adolescent health.

Family Doctor

Family physicians are trained to offer all members of a family with comprehensive medical care. They are able to diagnose and treat a broad variety of problems, ranging from minor ailments like the common cold and influenza to more severe diseases like diabetes and heart disease because of the training they have received. Furthermore, providing curative treatment primary care physicians often provide preventative services, such as screenings and immunizations against cancer and other illnesses.


Infants, toddlers, and teenagers may all get complete medical attention from their pediatrician more often than a family doctor. They are able to diagnose and treat a broad variety of problems, ranging from minor ailments like the common cold and influenza to more severe diseases like diabetes and heart disease because of the training they have received. In addition to providing curative treatment, pediatricians provide preventative services such as screenings and immunizations against cancer and other illnesses for your baby.

Benefits of Switching to a Family Doctor

Here are some benefits switching from a pediatrician to family medicine potentially may bring:

1. Providing preventive care

The majority of health issues can be avoided entirely with the assistance of a primary care physician. Family doctors have been specialized to detect potential health issues at their earliest stages, before they come to larger problems and when patients are more willing to receive treatment. This is accomplished through the administration of routine exams and screenings.

2. Diagnosing and treating illnesses

A skilled family doctor is trained to diagnose and treat a wide range of illnesses before they become major problems. For example, when a family member becomes sick, the family doctor can often provide quick and effective treatment. This is important because catching a problem at an earlier stage is easier to fix versus waiting until the minor issue becomes a major one.

3. Coordinating care

Care for patients is often coordinated by family physicians. The family doctor may ensure that all pertinent information is exchanged across the various physicians if a family member has to visit a specialist. This coordination may aid in ensuring that all parties engaged in a patient’s care are on the same page.

4. Providing education

A major benefit of having a family doctor is they can provide vital guidance to their patients by discussing with them how to maintain good health, educate what symptoms to pay attention to,  and avoid becoming sick. This is significant because preventing illness is always preferable to treating illness after it has already occurred.

5. Offering support

Family physicians can provide assistance to their patients’ families. In trying times, they can offer emotional support and assist in connecting families with other services that may help get them over the tough times more easily.

6. Building relationships

Building connections with patients and getting to know their patterns and behaviors represents one of the most critical responsibilities that family doctors can provide. These interactions may build trust, which is essential for delivering excellent care.

7. Advocating for patients

Another benefit and often overlooked is having a caring family doctor may speak up for their patients. An example of this is they may advocate for their patients’ rights and guarantee that their patients get the best possible treatment and outcome. It’s important to have a doctor that cares for you and doesn’t treat you like another number.

8. Managing chronic conditions:

Primary care physicians may be very helpful in the treatment and management of long-term illnesses by helping patients understand the seriousness of their problems and developing a tailored treatment strategy that might improve the patient’s quality of life overall despite dealing with chronic pain. 

9. Promoting healthy lifestyles

While sometimes forgotten as a benefit a family doctor has the ability to encourage healthy lives by giving patients with guidance on diet, physical activity, and other aspects to promote healthy living. 

10. Being a source of comfort

Family doctors have the potential to be a calming presence for their patients. During difficult times, they might be there to provide an ear to listen and a reassuring presence to the situation. These are but a few examples of the significant responsibilities that a knowledgeable doctor may play. Family physicians have the potential to make a significant difference in the lives of their patients as well as the lives of their patients’ relatives.

How Do I Switch Family Doctors?

If you are switching family doctors, you will need to fill out a new patient registration form. This form can be obtained from the new doctor’s office. You will also need to provide your medical records from your previous doctor. Interested in switching to Finding the Root Cause? Contact us today!

4 Tips for Making the Switch

  1. Pick the appropriate moment: The transition should ideally take place around the time when your kid reaches middle school, according to the recommendations of certain specialists. Because your kid is likely to feel more at ease talking to a doctor about delicate matters at this time, such as puberty or sexual activity, it may be a good idea to take advantage of this opportunity.
  1. Talk to your kid’s pediatrician; he or she will be able to point you in the direction of a family physician who will be a good match for your child. Additionally, he or she may give a document for the transfer of medical records.
  1. Make an appointment: When you have located a primary care physician, the next step is to schedule an appointment for your child to visit the physician and see the practice.
  1. Prepare yourself: Make sure that any inquiries that you have for the doctor are written down and brought with you. You might also consider bringing a list of your child’s medical history, as well as any vaccines and drugs they are currently taking.

What Should I Do If My Child Is Nervous About Switching Doctors?

If your youngster is worried about changing from their current pediatrician to a family doctor, you should attempt to convince them that it will not be a big deal and that everything will be well. You could also find it helpful to inquire with the pediatrician about whether or not he or she is able to suggest a family doctor who has a pleasant bedside manner and is excellent with children.

What If I Can’t Find a Family Doctor?

Finding the right family doctor that you (and your child) trust and connect with is very important. If you cannot find a family doctor, you might want to take your child to a pediatrician who sees patients of all ages by simply asking your child’s doctor to recommend one to you.

We’re Accepting New Patients!

Are you looking for a family doctor in the Fort Worth region to replace the pediatrician who presently treats your child? You are welcome to join our practice at Finding the Root Cause, headed by Dr. John Staniland. To set up an appointment, please feel free to contact our office today or stop by our location. We’ll love to have you become part of the family. Talk soon!

Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult with a healthcare provider before making any changes to your diet, exercise routine, or lifestyle.

Picture of Dr. John  Staniland

Dr. John Staniland

Dr. John Staniland went to medical school at the University of Calgary in 1991, completing a residency in Family Medicine at Memorial University of Newfoundland in 1993. Dr. Staniland worked as a traveling doctor for the Alberta Medical Association, relieving doctors in rural locations who couldn’t find anyone willing to give them some time off.

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