It’s hard to believe, but back-to-school season has arrived once again. Families are rushing to soak up those final moments of vacation, but it’s important for parents to consider what needs to be done before that first school bell rings — and that includes making sure your child is healthy and ready for the new school year to begin.
Now is the time to start thinking about making an appointment for your child’s annual wellness check-up.
Many parents believe this merely consists of a vaccine update, when in actuality the well-check appointment includes much more. Vaccines are always important to make sure your child is protected from preventable diseases, but the other parts of the well-check appointment are important too.
Growth and development
At a well-check appointment, the physician will monitor your child’s growth and development. It’s important for your child’s pediatrician to monitor their annual growth using growth charts. As children get older, we need to make sure they’re growing and developing properly for their age group.
You may hear questions from the pediatrician about lifestyle, exercise and nutrition, such as: What type of foods are they eating? How much time are they spending in front of the television? Are they getting proper exercise each day?
These are some of the questions that will need to be answered to make sure your child is living a healthy, balanced life. Physicians watch for any inappropriate weight gain or loss as well, and can make recommendations for how you can help your child reach a healthy weight for their age.
In addition, children are constantly changing and developing their motor skills, speech and language abilities, and social skills. Monitoring these changes on a routine basis is important to make sure your child is progressing at the right pace.
Well-check appointments give your child’s physician a chance to assess if he or she is having any social or verbal difficulties. Routine screenings throughout the stages of a child’s life can ensure appropriate changes, or perhaps determine when certain interventions might be needed.
Of course, vaccines are a component of a child well-check appointment, but there is so much more to it. It’s basically an annual tune up time — a time to ensure your child is healthy and ready for the year ahead.