Why to make a yearly well-child visit part of your child’s back-to-school routine

There’s a lot for families to do before children go back to school, no matter what grade they are entering. A yearly well-child physical may not seem an urgent thing to schedule, compared with everything on your to-do list, but summer break is one of the best times to get this important checkup. A lot can change for a child’s health, well-being and development during a school year, as those first- and last-day-of-school photos popular on social media show. Here are some of the reasons why back-to-school is the best time for a well-child checkup.

 

School and sports physicals on your schedule

Norton Children’s and Norton Healthcare offer convenient options for your child’s back-to-school well-child visits and sports physicals. This annual physical is an important part of the back-to-school checklist. Same and next day appointments are often available.

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Why schedule your child’s yearly well-child visit before school starts?

Balancing school, a home and social life, sports and extracurricular activities is not easy for kids, no matter their age. During the years surrounding adolescence, so much physical and emotional development happens, sometimes quickly. The annual well-child visit offers you and your child an opportunity to check in on his or her physical and emotional health before taking on new challenges in the new school year. Some other reasons to schedule a yearly well-child visit before school starts include:

 

  • It may be required.You may be required to provide proof of immunizations and a well-child physical, as well as eye and dental exams, based on requirements determined by the state you live in or the school your child will attend. There may be different requirements based on the grade your child is entering. These well-child visit requirements may differ from a sports physical, which also may be required for a child to participate in sports. Make sure to check the guidelines and requirements for your child’s school.
  • Get a snapshot of where your child is with his or her health.Getting a well-child visit before school starts can allow your child’s pediatrician to thoroughly assess where your child is with physical and mental development and check for any concerns. Getting yearly checkups also helps children build trust with their provider. That way, when they experience an issue they can feel safe being open and honest about their health and well-being. This is important, as well-child visits may also include a psychological and behavioral assessment, depending on the child’s age. A well-child visit may include:

 

  • Any needed immunizations
  • Blood pressure and heart rate screening
  • Cholesterol and blood sugar readings
  • Fine and gross motor skills assessment
  • Height and weight (BMI) screening
  • Physical examination, including eyes, ears, nose, mouth, skin and heartbeat, etc.
  • Reflexes check
  • Scoliosis screening
  • Psychological and behavioral questions — your child may be asked questions such as “Can you tell me about a friend you have at school?” and “How are you doing in school?” Pediatricians also may cover topics such as drinking, smoking, drugs, being sexually active and depression with teens.
  • Safety checks — your pediatrician may talk to you about preventing injuries: wearing bike helmets, seat belts and other safety measures.
  • Address questions and issues about sports participation. Is your child going to participate in sports during the school year? The child can talk to his or her pediatrician about sports-specific issues, including nutrition, exercise and training. Your child’s pediatrician may ask about injuries and rest.

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