If you’re a parent, you’re probably gearing up for your family’s annual back to school routine – including wellness visits. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that school-age children receive a physical exam by a pediatrician once per year. Back-to-school check-ups give your child’s pediatrician a chance to perform a thorough exam and proactively address any emotional, developmental or social concerns.
Experts at Ascension Saint Thomas suggest asking your pediatrician these questions to ensure that your child is primed for success physically and mentally:
1. What vaccine(s) does my child need during this visit? What does it protect against? The American Academy of Pediatrics has very specific immunization guidelines depending on your child’s age. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification on your child’s vaccination history and what to expect over the next few years.
2. How can I be sure my child is getting a healthy diet and exercising enough? Your child’s pediatrician wants to help you keep your child healthy and fit. Address any concerns you may have about your child’s lifestyle or his/her eating habits.
3. Is my child spending too much time watching a screen? Screens include television, cell phones, tablets, and video games. Be mindful of how much time your child – and the adults in your home – spend on screens. Your pediatrician may recommend developing a Family Media Use Plan.
4. Is my child’s development and growth appropriate for his/her age? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has a set of comprehensive health guidelines called Bright Futures for pediatricians to follow. The guidelines come with an age-appropriate pre-visit questionnaire that focuses on development milestones, nutrition, safety and other wellness recommendations.
5. How can I help reduce my child’s anxieties about going back to school? Your pediatrician is also in your child’s mental and emotional well-being. It is appropriate to discuss such concerns as his/her school experiences, relationships with peers, family difficulties, and daily stresses.
Before your pediatrician appointment is over, be sure to address any other specific concerns you have like, “Why is my child always tired?” or “How can I manage my child’s allergies?” Every child is unique and you’re their parent. Take this time to ease any concerns you may have regarding your child’s well-being with your pediatrician.