Back-to-School Checkups, Vaccinations, and More

Posted at 7:02 PM on Jun 3, 2024

Northwest Family Clinics –  Back to school checkups

Once the summer starts to wind down and the new school year approaches, it's time to start thinking about back-to-school checkups and how to keep your children healthy throughout the school year. Most of us here at Northwest Family Clinics are parents and know as the kids head back to school they are exposed to an increased number of illnesses. Anyone else lovingly call their kids little germ factories? Ensuring your children are up to date on vaccinations, eating well, staying active, and practicing good hygiene can make all the difference in having a successful and healthy school year.

Importance of Back-to-School Checkups

Annual checkups are a great opportunity to assess your child’s overall health, catch any potential issues early, and ensure they’re on track developmentally. During these visits, your family doctor will:

  • Review your child’s medical history
  • Perform a physical exam
  • Check vision and hearing
  • Review and discuss growth and development
  • Update vaccinations as needed
  • Discuss upcoming milestones and give anticipatory guidance 
  • Review and discuss age-appropriate health and safety issues
  • Answer questions

These checkups are also a chance to discuss any behavioral or learning concerns, sleep patterns, and emotional well-being.

Essential Vaccinations

Northwest Family Clinics –  Vaccinations for Back to School

Vaccinations are a crucial part of keeping your child healthy and preventing the spread of contagious diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following vaccines for school-aged children:

  • DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis)
  • IPV (Inactivated Poliovirus)
  • MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella)
  • Varicella (Chickenpox)
  • Hepatitis A and B
  • HPV (Human Papillomavirus)
  • Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine
  • Influenza (Flu) Vaccine

Each state has specific requirements for school entry, so check with your doctor or school district to ensure your child is compliant. Keeping vaccinations up to date not only protects your child but also helps prevent outbreaks in the community.

Healthy Eating Habits

Nutrition plays a vital role in your child’s ability to focus, learn, and grow. Here are some tips to encourage healthy eating habits:

  • Balanced Breakfast: Start the day with a nutritious breakfast that includes protein, some fat, whole grains, and fruits. This helps maintain energy and concentration levels.
  • Nutritious Lunches: Pack a variety of foods for lunch, including lean proteins, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Avoid sugary drinks and snacks.
  • Healthy Snacks: Opt for snacks like unsweetened yogurt, nuts, fruits, and vegetables instead of processed, sugary foods.
  • Hydration: Encourage drinking water throughout the day to stay hydrated.

Involving your children in meal planning and preparation can also help them develop healthy eating habits and make better food choices. Struggle with a picky eater? Find tips here to get the pickiest eaters to try new things here.

Encouraging Physical Activity

Regular physical activity is essential for maintaining a healthy weight, improving mood, and boosting academic performance. The CDC recommends at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day for children and adolescents. Here are some ways to incorporate exercise into your child’s routine:

  • Active Commuting: Walk or bike to school if it’s safe and feasible.
  • After-School Activities: Enroll your child in sports, dance, or other physical extracurricular activities.
  • Family Exercise: Plan family activities like hiking, biking, or playing sports together.
  • Limit Screen Time: Encourage outdoor play and limit time spent on electronic devices.

Preventing Illness

Schools can be breeding grounds for germs, so teaching your child good hygiene practices is key to preventing illness:

  • Handwashing: Encourage regular handwashing with soap and water, especially before eating and after using the restroom.
  • Cough and Sneeze Etiquette: Teach your child to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue or elbow when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid Sharing Personal Items: Remind your child not to share items like water bottles, utensils, or hats.
  • Stay Home When Sick: Keep your child home if they’re feeling unwell to prevent spreading illness to others.

Additional Health Tips

  • Sleep: Ensure your child gets enough sleep, as it’s crucial for their physical and mental health. School-aged children need 9-12 hours of sleep per night. Learn more about healthy sleep habits.
  • Mental Health: Be attentive to your child’s emotional well-being. Encourage open communication and seek professional help if you notice signs of anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns.
  • Safety: Discuss safety tips for walking or biking to school, and ensure your child knows the proper procedures for emergencies.

Happy Healthy School year

Preparing for the school year involves more than just shopping for supplies and new clothes. Prioritizing your child’s health through checkups, vaccinations, healthy eating, regular exercise, and good hygiene practices will set them up for a successful and healthy year. If you have any concerns or questions about your child’s health, don’t hesitate to reach out to your family doctor. Here’s to a happy, healthy school year!