The role of pediatricians in early childhood development

June 10, 2024, 1:30 p.m.

Piyush Srivastava, MD

From well-baby checkups to navigating the teenage years, pediatricians are champions of a child's health and development. They act as trusted partners for parents, offering not only medical expertise but also ongoing guidance and support. Parents seeking this information may be expecting their first child, or simply looking to bolster their knowledge about their pediatrician's crucial role. Understanding the scope of a pediatrician's care empowers parents to ask informed questions during visits, ensuring their child receives the best possible support on their journey from infancy to adolescence. The following are some of the ways pediatricians can help your family:

Building strong foundations:

  1. Well-baby checkups
    Pediatricians conduct routine well-baby checkups to monitor infants and young children's physical, cognitive and emotional development. These visits provide opportunities to address parental concerns, track growth milestones and administer necessary vaccinations.
  2. Developmental screenings
    Pediatricians perform developmental screenings to assess a child's progress in key areas such as language, motor skills and social interaction. Early detection of developmental delays or concerns allows timely intervention and support services.
  3. Parental guidance
    Pediatricians are there for parents, offering guidance and support on everything from healthy eating and restful sleep to keeping your little one safe and navigating tricky behaviors. They don't just answer questions, they empower parents with the knowledge and resources they need to raise happy, healthy kids who thrive.

Early intervention and prevention:

  1. Early detection of health issues
    Pediatricians are trained to identify and address common health issues impacting early childhood development, including infections, nutritional deficiencies and sensory impairments. Detecting these issues early enables timely intervention and access to appropriate services.
  2. Preventive care
    Pediatricians emphasize preventive care measures, including regular health screenings, immunizations and anticipatory guidance. By promoting healthy behaviors and lifestyles, they help prevent childhood illnesses and promote overall well-being.

Holistic care and support:

  1. Comprehensive assessments
    Pediatricians conduct comprehensive assessments of children's physical, emotional and social well-being, considering their unique developmental needs and family dynamics. They collaborate with other health care professionals as needed to provide holistic care.
  2. Mental health support
    Pediatricians address children's mental health needs by screening for emotional and behavioral issues, providing counseling and support, and referring to mental health specialists when necessary. They play a vital role in promoting resilience and addressing psychosocial stressors.
  3. Advocacy and education
    Pediatricians advocate for policies and programs that support early childhood development. They also engage in educational outreach to raise awareness about child health and development among parents, caregivers and the broader public.

Pediatricians serve as champions for children's health and well-being, guiding families through the critical early years of development. Their holistic approach, from routine checkups to specialized care, ensures that children receive the support they need to thrive physically, emotionally and cognitively. By partnering with pediatricians, parents can foster a nurturing environment that promotes optimal growth and development for their children.

Need help finding a pediatrician? We’re here to assist. Learn more about what factors to consider when choosing a provider.  


Piyush Srivastava, MDPiyush Srivastava, MD, is a general pediatrician specializing in comprehensive children's health care. He is also board-certified in obesity medicine. Dr. Srivastava's practice is a part of BJC Medical Group, a well-established, multi-specialty physician group. In his free time, he enjoys reading articles and watching videos on nutrition, lifestyle medicine, integrative medicine, history, philosophy, food and culture. He loves playing with his two dogs, Chia and Milo, and he is also a budding skywatcher and golfer.