It is hard to believe August is already halfway over! As you begin to prepare for the new school year with school supplies and new clothes, don’t forget another important back-to-school necessity: your child’s annual well-child exam. Children and adolescents should get a check-up every year, and school districts require evidence of these checks at certain ages. Older children who require a sports physical can get that accomplished at this visit.
What to Expect
At this yearly exam, your provider can answer any questions or concerns you may have, ensure your child is growing appropriately, check in regarding any chronic conditions your child may have such as allergies and asthma, and examine your child to ensure he/she is healthy. This appointment gives your provider a chance to address any physical, emotional, developmental, or social concerns. Being proactive helps prevent future illnesses and ensures immunizations are always up to date – plus it’s the easiest way to make sure your child is hitting all the correct growth and developmental milestones.
These yearly check-ups are also a great way to make sure your children learn that seeing their healthcare provider consistently is necessary for optimal health. Childhood and early adolescence are critical times to institute as many healthy behaviors as possible, including eating well and getting enough physical activity. Many risk behaviors are also formed during this critical period, and the annual check-up can help providers to identify these behaviors and partner with families to address the problems.
Get a Head Start
Back to school is a hectic time filled with to-do lists, shopping lists, and fitting in any last minute summer vacations; but, in the midst of all of that, the annual check-up is the most important thing for your child. It’s important to go into these appointments adequately prepared. In order to be as ready as possible, make sure to take care of these things before the appointment:
- Make sure you have all the forms that need to be signed by your provider including those for:
- If your child needs any sort of medication or inhaler, bring the official permission form that allows school professionals to give your child the necessary medication – whether it’s daily or just in an emergency
- A compiled list of any questions or concerns you want addressed
If you’re seeing a doctor for the first time, there’s a little more pre-appointment work. Make sure you write down important information including:
- Any history of fainting, shortness of breath, or other major medical occurrences as well as any important family history such as a history of heart disease
- Any allergies, chronic illnesses, past surgeries, broken bones, etc.
- Any medicine your child is taking including prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, herbs or supplements. Include the dosage.
- Vaccination history