The Most Important Item on the Back-to-School List

Doctor Explaining Boy While Mother Looking At Him In Clinic

Pens, pencils, notebooks, binders, glue sticks, and hand sanitizer may be a few of the items on your child’s back to school list, but one of the most important items is the back-to-school physical with your child’s pediatrician. Depending on where you live, the new school year may have already begun for some children so the back-to-school physical may have been checked off the list. And, if your child plays sports, most likely your child visited the pediatrician. But, if your child’s back-to-school physical hasn’t been checked off your list yet, you’re just in time to get the 411.

Here are a few tips to help empower you to take charge of your child’s health at the back-to-school well visit with your pediatrician.

1. Partner with your pediatrician
Communication and collaboration with your pediatrician is important to help foster better outcomes. Express your concerns in a respectful manner and be specific.
2. Be prepared
Write down any questions. Bring a list of questions with you. Whether you write them on paper or have them stored on your tablet or Smartphone. Being organized will allow you to ask the questions you need.
3. Ask questions
Your questions will vary depending on the age of your child. Here are only a few questions to get you started, but ask any questions that are important to you. You know your child best, and no question is ever ridiculous. Also, allow your child to speak up and express concerns or ask any questions they may have. Encourage them to be proactive in charge of their health care.

A few questions you might want to ask include:

  • What vaccinations does my child need?*
  • How much sleep is required for my child?
  • My child is involved in after-school activates (sports and/or clubs)—how does my child balance homework and extra-curricular activities?
  • How can I make sure my child is eating healthy at school? What are some easy nutritious foods to pack in his/her lunchbox?
  • What’s my child’s height, weight? Is it within range?
  • How much physical activity should my child get every day?
  • Does my child need to have his/her cholesterol checked?

And, remember to ask for a copy of the physical exam and vaccine records. You can find more information on vaccines and Immunizations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) here. Plus, if you’re looking to keep your kids eating healthy during the school day, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has helpful tips and tricks that will set you up for success.