Being a good parent means understanding when you can’t do everything for your child. At some point, you will need to visit a physician to help your kid feel better. Swollen tonsils, broken arms, and stubborn fevers happen to the best of us. Wellness exam schedules can be harder to stick to because when your child is well, it can seem less essential or time sensitive. In fact, staying on a back to school wellness schedule can help your health team (parent and physician) make a timely plan for any issues that may be addressed in the visit before school begins again and schedules get hectic.
One of the main reasons to keep regular back to school wellness appointments is to prevent problems. Staying on track with immunizations and age-level milestones should be expected. The physician may discuss other preventative topics related to health such as nutrition and safety. Eating a balanced diet can reduce the risk of preventable illnesses and diseases so this is pretty important. Safety relating to the home and school environment may also be an important discussion to have with your child’s physician during this visit. Teenagers may be asked questions about difficult topics such as drinking, drugs, and sexual activity. These are important conversations to have so understand that your child’s physician may ask to talk privately at times like this.
Development and Physical Growth
When babies are born, there are many visits to be made as children this age can be vulnerable to sickness. As they become toddlers, these visits usually taper off unless there is a parental concern. School aged children should still be monitored to be sure they are thriving. During a back to school well visit, questions regarding social behaviors may be asked. If you are not around children other than your own, it may be more difficult to identify whether or not your child is on track behaviorally. The physician may ask questions about friends or school to get an idea about their development. Letting your child answer and listening when these questions are asked can help both you and your doctor figure out how to help if there are concerns. Another important aspect of a well check is charting physical growth. A steady pattern of growth can indicate a healthy kid while inconsistencies can highlight possible problems. Your child may also plan on participating in extracurricular activities during the school year. Having a thorough physical exam done is not only a good idea, but often required to make sure they are healthy enough to participate.
Bring Up Concerns
There is always the possibility that your child has been experiencing something that has you worried. It could be sleep issues or bed wetting. Maybe they are having trouble getting along with their siblings or break down and cry out of nowhere. These concerns are totally normal and your physician can help give you direction if necessary. Parents or physicians may also notice patterns like allergy symptoms being experienced at the same time every year. Noting these patterns can help to prevent problems later on. Checking in and expressing concerns before school begins can alleviate issues before they extend into the classroom.
It takes a good amount of trust to bring concerns about your child’s health (or your own parenting skills) to a physician. By making wellness checks a regularly scheduled event, you are forming a team that makes your child the priority. Doctor and parent teams that communicate well can ensure the mental, physical and social health of children in the best way possible.
Wellness visits are so important that the American Academy of Pediatrics stresses the need to continue to see children for health visits, even while the world experiences the current health concerns. Understandably, telehealth is the preferred option to give optimal protection against illness. A visit completed in this way is still a great opportunity to visit and ask questions.